Ingenious Ventures hits the road in hunt to invest in 15 creative startups by September

Ingenious Ventures invests in every corner of the media and creative industries, which account for approximately 6% of UK GDP and employ more people than the financial and professional services industries. The team is searching for businesses with new ideas in consumer technology, e-commerce, gaming, fashion & design, publishing and audio-visual content production.

Applications can be made at www.ingeniousmedia.co.uk/ventures/Seed-Investment-Programme.

Successful start-ups will be announced in September 2013. Ingenious will then work with investee companies to develop their business models, build teams, infrastructure and peer networks, and begin generating revenues. Ingenious has also negotiated preferred rates with accountancy firm CAS and competitive rent at a number of office spaces.

To identify 15 top start-ups, Ingenious Ventures is touring the UK’s top innovation hubs. From 17 June to 5 July, entrepreneurs are invited to meet the team, pitch their businesses in person and receive some first-hand guidance, before going on to make their applications online.

Aspiring entrepreneurs with original ideas can email seedapps@ingeniousmedia.co.uk to arrange meetings in the following cities: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Cambridge, Oxford, Cardiff, Bristol, London, Brighton and Belfast.

Patrick Bradley, CEO of Ingenious Ventures, commented: “For fifteen years Ingenious has been the engine for the media and creative industries; we have already raised and deployed over £8 billion in the sector. Through the programme we are announcing today, we are continuing to stand behind the top emerging creative talent the UK has to offer.

“Finding 15 great ideas in three months is a challenge. But we’re confident the ideas are out there: this sector is one of the UK’s most under-tapped sources of fast-growth businesses founded by innately entrepreneurial, ambitious and inventive individuals.”

Using capital from the Ingenious SEIS Fund, one of the UK’s largest seed funds, Ingenious Ventures is committed to making investments of up to £150,000 (the maximum permitted under the rules of SEIS) into each of the 15 selected businesses.

To qualify for investment by the programme, start-ups need to be ‘SEIS-qualifying’. Amongst other criteria laid out on HMRC’s website, applicants must:

  • Be an unquoted, independent company which is trading, or preparing to trade
  • If already trading, not have commenced trading more than two years ago
  • Have fewer than 25 employees
  • Have gross assets of £200,000 or less
  • Not be, or ever have been, under the control of another company (with the exception of certain “off the shelf” companies)
  • Not have raised any money under EIS or VCT schemes previously
  • Commenced trading fewer than two years ago

Following the initial investment, the businesses that excel through their partnership with Ingenious Ventures, will also be considered for a follow-on investment, typically of up to £1 million, as early as January 2014. This will be drawn from Ingenious Ventures’ EIS fund, which invests in later stage growth companies.

These growth-stage investee companies will benefit from strategic marketing and brand advice from Ingenious Ventures’ EIS fund partners, BBH, the global advertising group.

Ingenious Ventures has a long history and strong track record of investing in and helping to grow UK media, entertainment and content brands. The team’s most recent investments include: Digital Theatre (making top theatre productions available online), Property Network (Facebook-based property listings) and Casabu (flash sales of mother and child goods).

Ingenious Ventures is a division of Ingenious, the UK’s largest media and creative industries investor. Since 1998, the Group has invested over £8 billion in creative products and businesses, from box office hits such as Avatar and Life of Pi to games companies, live music festivals, sporting events and TV formats.

Investment highlights from past Ingenious Ventures funds include Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment (the creators of the Pop Idol and American Idol formats) and Cream, the global dance music operator, whose sale to Live Nation in 2012 generated a 9.1x return on investment.

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