Welsh tech seed fund hits £3 million milestone

Since launching in early 2014, the Wales Technology Seed Fund has invested £3 million in Welsh technology businesses.

The fund was set up to provide financial backing to early stage science and technology companies that are based in Wales or want to relocate to the country.

It makes investments from £50,000 to £250,000 to help young firms grow and put Wales’s technology sector on the map. So far, it’s invested in 21 companies.

Recent deals include equity investments in software companies Paperclip, Hudman and Koherent. Cwmbran-based Hudman received a six-figure investment and brought Finance Wales to its £3 million milestone.

It provides cloud-based enterprise and accounting software for manufacturing, engineering and construction companies. The deal follows investment from David James, who got involved through Xenos.

James, who is now the managing director of Hudman, said: “This investment is going to help accelerate our company’s growth. We’ve already seen success in the B2B market with our software and we’re looking forward to building on this success over the next two years and beyond.”

The fund was launched and is run by the Welsh Government, which wants to address the lack of early stage capital identified by the Innovation Wales strategy it set up.

Economy Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates said: “The fund is supporting young technology starts ups at a critical stage of their development and providing the seed funding needed to support the commercialisation of their intellectual property.

“I am pleased to see the fund is having an impact and businesses are also benefiting from Finance Wales’ links with private and institutional co-investors. We need to support home grown talent and attract more of these types of business with high growth potential to Wales.”

During the last financial year, Melanie Goward, Finance Wales’ Technology Seed Fund Manager, led investments into technology start-ups Nemesis, Trecento and Kitlog.

“The impact of the fund has been tremendous,” she said. “We’ve been able to work with a range of ambitious companies starting out. We’ve been able to support home-grown talent as well as luring exciting early growth firms to Wales.”

One firm to benefit from seed funding is Kitlog, a software company based in North Wales. It secured a six-figure funding package through the scheme to pioneer the Papertrail platform, a tool for logging statutory paperwork and records.

“Finance Wales has helped us to mature our business into a better position for success,” explained Kitlog CEO and co-founder Ben Scholes. “Melanie has contributed at our Board meetings, which has been a big help. We’re looking forward to gaining more experience working with her and tapping into future networks via her contacts.”

He added: “The Wales Technology Seed Fund provides excellent opportunities for technology-focused early stage companies based in Wales. We’re active co-investors and have experience of structuring competitive equity and debt packages.

“The Finance Wales Technology Ventures team is hardworking and creative, and we really enjoy working with high growth potential firms across the science and technology sector.”

Image credit: Pictures of Money