Bristol entrepreneurs invest in start-ups

Bristol Arnolfini

A group of successful entrepreneurs from the Bristol area have set up a mechanism to provide seed-funding for early-stage start-up businesses in the South West.

It is a new venture for Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC), which previously only invested in established enterprises with growth potential.

BPEC Seed is sourcing the businesses to fund through established links with organisations such as SetSquared, TechSpark and Tech South West, with around 20 per cent of BPEC members looking at supporting start-ups.

Heading up BPEC Seed is Peter Lockett, active BPEC member since 2018, supported by colleagues Ben Cooper and Sam Simpson. All three volunteers have had extensive experience and success with their own early-stage companies and are active Business Angels in the South West.

Peter Lockett said: “BPEC has established itself as a credible source of investment for regional growth companies looking for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) funding.

“Launched in January, BPEC Seed now extends the service to earlier stage start-ups sourcing Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) funding. Funding from us can help start-up businesses access other funds or could be a good start for those seeking crowd funding.

“We already have a growing pipeline of start-ups seeking investment and have carried out an initial round of evaluations of 12 businesses resulting in one investment and two others being considered by the group.”

Peter Lockett, who co-founded a pharmaceutical packaging business that he built up and sold, says many entrepreneurs are keen to support those in the early stages of their journey.

He said: “We are looking to give something back and BPEC has been very successful in supporting businesses with investment of between £150,000 to £500,000 but this is for those requiring less than £150,000 and the business must be under two years old with assets less than £200,000”.

Jerry Barnes, founder and CEO of BPEC said: “This is a fantastic extension of the support that BPEC is giving to growing businesses in the region. I am very grateful to Peter for leading this initiative and helping BPEC to expand its role by supporting new businesses who always find it tough to find seed funding.”

Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC) has invested around £8 million in local businesses since it was founded four years ago and now has over 100 members. Details can be found on the BPEC website – bristolprivateequityclub.com