The FinTech Five, Friends Edition – 17th September 2021

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Welcome to a friends edition of the FinTech Five! This week we are taking a closer look at five more of our fantastic FinTech Wales Friend Members who continue to provide support, knowledge, and expertise to our region’s FinTech community.

1. British Business Bank publishes names of the companies in which Future Fund has a shareholding

First this week, this month saw the British Business Bank publish a list of 158 companies in which the Future Fund holds an equity stake. Launched on 20 May 2020, and open for applications until 31 January 2021, the Future Fund issued 1,190 innovative companies with Convertible Loan Agreements worth £1.14bn. Third-party investors were required to at least match the Future Fund’s investment.

Companies in which Future Fund is a shareholder include Vaccitech, a co-inventor of the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine, AI education specialist Century Tech, and Ripple Energy, which allows customers to own shares of a wind farm.

The Future Fund supports innovative UK companies that typically rely on equity investment to fund their growth. By creating a bridge to the next equity funding round, the Future Fund supported these companies through a period of considerable economic disruption and now the recovery.

The scheme used a recognised financial instrument known as a convertible loan. Unlike an equity investment, there wasn’t a requirement under the convertible loan to value the company or the price of its shares, at a time when company valuations had been significantly impacted by Covid-19. Instead, the convertible loans are designed to convert into equity at the next equity funding round, converting at a discount to the price per share agreed between companies and investors in the funding round.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank said: 

“The Future Fund was created to increase the flow of capital to innovative companies at the height of the pandemic, while ensuring long-term value for the UK taxpayer. We’re delighted to see so many companies already going on to raise further private sector capital. As a shareholder in so many promising businesses, the Future Fund is well positioned to support, and benefit from their continued growth.”

On 6 July the British Business Bank published data that gives a final comprehensive picture of how the Future Fund has supported businesses during the pandemic. This is available on the British Business Bank website, alongside further information on the Future Fund. 

Read the full article on British Business Bank’s website, here. 

2. Venture – The New CCR Skills and Talent Hub is set to emerge

Next, a pioneering new employment and skills brand is about to emerge on the South East Wales talentscape – with the launch of Venture, Cardiff Capital Region’s (CCR’s) new Skills & Talent Hub. 

In a recent podcast, Suzanne Chesterton – Head of Marketing and Communications, Nicola Somerville – Head of New Business and Inclusive Growth, and Geraldine O’ Sullivan – Graduate Development officer talk through;

Click here for access to the podcast.

3. EY Value Realised: Reporting progress on EY’s global impact in 2021

Next, EY is reporting against the World Economic Forum-International Business Council (WEF-IBC) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics to demonstrate progress on plans for increased transparency. Carmine Di Sibio, Ey’s Global Chairman and CEO talks through the highlights in a recent letter.

In the article, Carmine explains that EY “believe[s] in stakeholder capitalism: that businesses should create value for their clients, employees, suppliers, communities as well as shareholders. We believe that when organizations align their aims with society’s, they will be more valuable and viable in the long-term, and we will all be closer to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges.

We started this journey in 2018 with the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC), a joint initiative with 30 other companies and the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, to redefine and measure how companies create value. In 2019 we created NextWave, our purpose-led strategy and ambition to create long-term value for EY clients, people and society. This strategy has been used to catalyze our own transformation agenda. This year we are advancing how we measure and report on the value we create.” 

Carmine’s letter is sectioned into three subheadings covering how EY are holding themselves accountable, their value realised, and EY’s efforts looking ahead. 

Click here to Read EY Global Chairman and CEO’s full letter, where you can also download the full report on EY’s global impact

4. Tech Nation introduces the 32 companies joining Net Zero 2.0

Next, Tech Nation have announced a new cohort of 32 UK climate tech and cleantech companies selected for their second Net Zero programme.

Emerging trends this year saw an increase in companies developing carbon removal solutions, sustainable supply chains and using satellite and space technology for environmental monitoring.  

Almost two-thirds of the companies in the diverse cohort are headquartered outside of London, and 41% have a female founder.

The Net Zero growth programme launched in September 2020 is the very first in the world to focus on sustainable companies that are helping the UK work towards achieving its goal to be net zero by 2050. Net Zero 2.0 is supported by headline partners BNP Paribas and programme partner Sage.

Over the course of the six-month programme, the investment received by the Net Zero 1.0 cohort increased from £87.8 million to £131.2 million, while the average headcount per company increased by 50%. 

Companies were judged based on their scalability and potential to help the UK reach its high-priority net zero goal. Twenty-two of the companies (69%) are planning to expand to international markets in the next 12 months, demonstrating significant growth potential for their sustainable technologies.

“Achieving net zero emissions may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but the reality is that many of the solutions required already exist — they just need to be supported and scaled,” commented judge Mahima Sukhdev, head of product strategy at GIST Impact and senior advisor to Xynteo. “This is why the Net-Zero accelerator is so pivotal.”

Read the full announcement on TechNation’s website, here, where you can find introductions to the full cohort

5. Corporate Finance Team of the Year Win for GS Verde Group

Last but not least this week, Verde Corporate Finance, part of the GS Verde Group, has been named Corporate Finance Team of the Year at the Finance Awards Wales 2020/21.

In the first business awards to take place in person since the pandemic, the 2020/21 Finance Awards Wales celebrated the achievements of Wales’s rapidly growing finance sector in a ceremony at Cardiff’s prestigious City Hall.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, Verde and the GS Verde Group have seen a significant period of growth, and the award is recognition of a large number of high-quality corporate transactions to be completed by the deal-making Group.

Craig Blackmore, Director at Verde Corporate Finance, said: 

“I am delighted that the Verde team has been recognised with this award. It is a testament to the hard work of the team and their contribution to the sector. With more exciting plans on the horizon, we are looking forward to what the future holds for the GS Verde Group.”

Click here to read the full announcement on GS Verde Group’s website

Until Next Time…

That’s it for this month’s Friends of FinTech Five. For more information on any of our Friend Members, visit our members directory and discover what’s new from the organisations helping the financial technology community to succeed throughout the region.