On 1st January 2021, Surrey Investors Club and Angels 5K merged to form Southern Angel Investors Club.
Prior to the merger, members from both Clubs had collectively invested over £11 million of their own money in over 100 high growth companies throughout the UK.
Since the merger, we have expanded our community and our active membership and have so far invested £850k in 13 companies.
On this page, we have selected 6 companies to showcase a mixture of businesses from across categories and at different stages of development, and give you a flavour of our interests as a Club.
The Printspace’s mission is to use the latest technology to build tools that enable creative careers to prosper. The software platform they built has given professional creative artists and photographers a place to store files, make prints, automate art sales, find commercial clients and get fast feedback during creative projects.
Set up in 2007, initially the business created revenue solely through print services. 3 years ago they introduced a “drop shipping” service enabling artists to to take orders but leave the printing despatch and logistics of supplying the customer to The Printspace. More recently they have developed an entirely new revenue stream with monthly subscriptions that give users enhanced access to their new SaaS tools. Today They have attracted over 50,000 users and had over 1 million images uploaded.
Since their first angel round they have seen their pre-money valuation develop from £3m to £20m for the 2021 round, when they raised £600,000 to assist in the launch of a US branch and provide additional capital for marketing in both the US and the EU. In 2019, the business attracted its first institutional investor, The FSE Group, which manages funds on behalf of public and private stakeholders.
SAIC’s Hugh Smith, who not only invested in 2016 but became a Director in the business, about their trajectory, said: “What impressed me was a solid growing business with high quality print sales, combined with a vision to introduce SaaS tools into the creative sector. They aimed to become a combination of Amazon and Linked In within the sector and to become a worldwide business. They are now well on the way to achieving that with their SaaS business. Because of their solid base printing business the “downside” risks were much lower than is seen with many newer companies.”
Real Media Now. The global digital media market has consistently been growing, with gaming accounting for the biggest share of market revenues. In 2020, it generated approximately $21.1 billion – a record 21.9% growth compared to the previous year. Currently, there are an estimated 1 billion online gamers worldwide and in 2025, the online gaming audiences are projected to surpass 1.3 billion.
This is the World that Real Media Now operates within – providing tools to game developers who want to enhance retention, while increasing revenue. The business provides helpful videos for users stuck on levels – reducing churn. But that’s only part of the story, Real Media Now also works with brands to match them with target users in an unobtrusive way. The combined offering has seen the business grow since SAIC members first invested in 2019.
The Electrospinning Company’s vision is to be the most innovative and reliable global supplier of fibrous biomaterials for medical device products that enhance the quality of life of patients.
Originally a spin-out from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), their technology platform is built on electrospinning and associated processing technologies. Supporting clients with material development in a range of different therapeutic indications and territories, and supplying electrospun biomaterial components into an FDA-approved medical device.
In 2018, the business was recognised as one of Britain’s top 10 scale-up companies to watch in healthcare and life sciences and it was then that members of the now SAIC took stakes in the business.
Last year, Confluent Medical Technologies Inc. announced a strategic investment in Electrospinning to expand the design options utilized in the structural heart market and fully automate the process of attaching biomedical textiles to heart valve frames. This investment required a valuation of the business which represented a X increase in the price paid for shares in 2018.
Envorem. The green agenda has become a mainstream topic in recent years. We have moved from a time when scientists talked about the issues to a time when governments around the World have mandated targets on key indicators must be met by certain dates.
The opportunity to invest in green energy and other related businesses has gained pace but relatively speaking, there are still few pitches each year that SAIC see for members to be part of this global drive. Envorem was therefore a welcome opportunity.
The business deals with a simple but difficult problem – as we transition from fossil fuels to alternative, greener options, we must mitigate the environmental impact of ongoing oil production and ensure the legacy pollution is addressed. Crude and fuel oils contain contaminates comprising sediments and water which form an oily sludge. Every day, the equivalent of more than 1 million barrels of crude oil are discarded by the oil and maritime industries as hazardous waste at a huge environmental and financial cost.
Envorem has developed an innovative new technology that uses a less understand property of water, cavitation, to process production sludges, cleaning the solids and recovering the entrained oil – all without generating emissions.
Chris Hall, SAIC’s lead investor about Envorem’s solution, who has subsequently joined their Executive Leadership team, said: “It was clear from the outset the business case versus the competitive treatment approach was compelling and there was a clear need for a cleaner, more energy efficient and lower cost solution to this problem. Following their pitch to SAIC, we subsequently helped the CEO find other sources funding through other angel networks we are associated with to close the round and provide Envorem with a 12-month runway to accelerate their vision”.
Eight SAIC members invested a total of £120K in 2021 and we subsequently introduced Envorem to other angel groups such that the round completed with a total investment of £1.4M.
Written Byte was a business founded in the UK in 2006 and which now is based in the US under the trading name of Deep Crawl.
It is a business that sits in the centre of the digital revolution – with their market-leading SaaS Technical SEO platform used with a client base ranging from SEO consultants and small in-house teams to international agencies and global enterprises – including leading brands like Adobe, eBay, Microsoft, Twitch, Canva, and Paypal.
Members of SAIC first invested in the business when the pre-money valuation was just £X. In 2020 a series B round generated $19m which was used primarily for R&D and investing in sales and marketing to drive greater market penetration in the US, where the company opened its first office in 2017. Today, the business turns over X.
Talking about the success of this business, Anthony Gilbert who was the lead investor from SAIC said “quote”.
Swytch – the world’s leading eBike conversion kit, with over 35,000 units sold since 2017 looked to raise £2m in Q1 2022 to provide more working capital and marketing spend as well as strengthening the team and beefing up their R&D pot.
SAIC members were highly impressed with the team’s achievements already and with a waitlist of 700,000 of existing and potential customers looking to buy one of their products, felt confident that this is an exciting and scaling business.
Their sophisticated marketing capability, which has driven great coverage and awareness and the plans for the World’s first commercial, pocket size e-bike battery impressed and Club members collectively invested close to £240k. The funding round closed, with a total of £3.055M secured (in addition to the £630k of GLIF debt funding secured in December), total £3.685M – a brilliant result vs. the initial target of £2m.
We talked recently to Ian Robertson – an active member of SAIC’s leadership team who first brought the Club’s attention to the new raise for the business in February 2022, to ask him about the business. “Swytch caught my attention back in 2018. They clearly had a unique marketing and service-led approach to the market which could accelerate the adoption of e-bikes and their impact on global warming and climate change. Given their success over 18 months I was more than happy take up my pre-emption rights in this round and to share the opportunity with fellow SAIC members.”
Oliver Montague was a Co-Founder of Swytch and is now CEO – we asked him what motivated the launch of the business – “Through converting bikes into eBikes we hope to contribute to a more sustainable transport ecosystem and be part of the bigger picture of combating climate change. Not only are we reducing people’s emissions as they travel, but we’re also reducing the emissions associated with manufacturing the original technology”.