Blackfinch Ventures Accelerates Tech Growth with over £12m invested as Tax Year Concludes

In the financial year 2023/24, Blackfinch Ventures invested more than £12 million in a diverse range of early-stage and growth-stage companies, reinforcing its commitment to the UK's burgeoning tech economy.

As the tax year closed, Blackfinch's Spring VCT reported a record-breaking increase in funds raised, growing 91% year-on-year and investing in 15 startups. Meanwhile, the Blackfinch EIS Portfolios funded 13 companies.

Significantly, these investments welcomed four new ventures into Blackfinch's expanding portfolio. Among these, the standout startup Kelpi secured a combined total of £1.07 million. In addition, 11 existing companies within the portfolio received follow-on investments, supporting their continued growth journey.

Dr Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch, expressed enthusiasm about the firm’s latest achievements, “We’re immensely proud to support some of the UK’s brightest entrepreneurial talents. Our record year of VCT investments not only reflect our commitment to tech-led, diversified portfolios but also the vibrancy and potential of UK tech regions on the world stage.”

He further remarked on the continuation of Blackfinch’s funding strategy, “Building on the momentum of previous years, we’ve once again escalated our investment efforts, demonstrating our belief in the transformative potential of these companies.”

The Ventures team’s total investment now stands at over £78 million across 41 companies since its inception in 2019, targeting disruptive innovations that address real-world challenges. Blackfinch’s investments span a wide range of sectors, from accessing public transport and digital education to cutting-edge marketing solutions, demonstrating a clear vision for a future shaped by UK-led technological advancements.

The latest data from Dealroom demonstrates the vigour of the UK’s tech scene. In 2023, UK startups secured $21 billion in venture capital, an impressive feat that demonstrates the sector’s dynamism amidst global disruptions. This figure not only highlights the UK’s robust position but also its dominance over European counterparts, raising more than France and Germany combined, in attracting venture capital.

With the UK celebrated as the third $1 trillion tech economy, after the US and China, the narrative of a burgeoning tech nation is compelling. Such a statistic reflects a maturing UK ecosystem that will continue to attract international interest, and local and foreign investment.

Blackfinch Ventures has actively contributed to this vibrant ecosystem, channelling investments into pioneering companies like Kelpi and Tended. These investments reflect Blackfinch’s keen eye for innovation and potential, aligning with broader trends of sustainability and workplace safety technologies.

Joining Blackfinch’s portfolio this year, Kelpi is on a mission to combat global plastic pollution through its breakthrough seaweed-derived bioplastic coatings. This revolutionary technology presents an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics, promising to significantly reduce environmental impact. The South West-based company has already captured the attention of global fast moving consumer good giants, including Diageo and L’Oreal, ushering in a new era in packaging technology.

East Midlands-based Tended, a follow-on investment by Blackfinch, is transforming workplace safety with its wearable technology designed to prevent accidents in high risk environments. Recognised by Time Magazine as one of the inventions of 2023, Tended has secured significant contracts, including a framework agreement with Siemens worth up to £7 million. With £2.8 million EIS and £1.1 million VCT investment since joining the Blackfinch Ventures portfolio, Tended is set to expand its impact, rolling out over 400 devices in the coming months. This fast growing company’s products are making heavy industry workplaces safer globally, demonstrating the scalability and international appeal of UK-based innovations.

Chris Elphick, Head of Venture Capital at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association said, “In reflecting on the UK’s remarkable journey to becoming a $1 trillion tech economy, it’s clear that regional contributions have been integral. The vibrancy and diversity of the tech sector across various UK regions, including pivotal growth in areas outside of London, demonstrate the collective strength and potential of our tech landscape.

“We commend investors like Blackfinch Ventures for their dedication to regional development, which has been instrumental in helping the UK tech sector achieve this significant valuation.”

Richard Cook, CEO of Blackfinch Group concludes, “This has been a fantastic year for the Venture Capital area of our business. Market data shows that VCT fund raising was slightly down this year, yet Blackfinch saw an increase of circa 90% in our inflows. This is a reflection of our rapidly increasing profile in the space, driven by a high quality team coupled with a great portfolio of companies, as well as a fund which is now paying dividends.

“At a time when venture capital is becoming part of a wider discussion for the UK economy, this is an exciting time for Blackfinch to use its experience and expertise to help with this growth opportunity.

“I am delighted to see our profile increase in the space this year, in both the significantly higher number of people choosing to invest with Blackfinch, as well as the number of strong and exciting companies looking to us for capital and collaboration.

“Blackfinch will continue to grow and scale in this space over the coming year, we more exciting innovations and products due to be announced later this year.”