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

In the 2023/24 financial year, Blackfinch Ventures invested over £12 million across a variety of early and growth stage companies, strengthening its commitment to the UK's burgeoning tech economy.

As the tax year closed, Blackfinch's Spring VCT achieved a record-breaking 91% growth year on year, investing in 15 startups, while the Blackfinch EIS Portfolios supported 13 companies.

This investment cycle introduced four new ventures to Blackfinch’s expanding portfolio. Notably, Kelpi emerged as a standout, securing a total of £1.07 million. Additionally, 11 existing portfolio companies received follow-on investments to further their growth.

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.”

Since its inception in 2019, the Ventures team at Blackfinch has committed over £78 million to 41 companies, focusing on disruptive innovations that tackle real-world challenges. Blackfinch’s investments cover a broad spectrum of sectors, from enhancing public transport accessibility and digital education to advanced marketing solutions, underscoring its vision for a future driven by UK-led technological advancements.

Recent data from Dealroom underscores the vitality of the UK tech scene. In 2023, UK startups attracted $21 billion in venture capital, showcasing the sector's resilience and dynamism amid global disruptions. This figure not only reinforces the UK’s strong position but also its supremacy over European peers, outpacing France and Germany combined in venture capital attraction.

With the UK now celebrated as the third $1 trillion tech economy, following the US and China, the narrative of a thriving tech nation is compelling. This statistic reflects a mature UK ecosystem poised to draw sustained international and domestic investment.

Blackfinch Ventures has been a significant contributor to this vibrant ecosystem, directing investments towards trailblazing companies such as Kelpi and Tended. These investments exemplify Blackfinch’s sharp focus on innovation and potential, aligning with broader trends towards sustainability and workplace safety technologies.

Newly added to Blackfinch’s portfolio, Kelpi is addressing global plastic pollution with its innovative seaweed-derived bioplastic coatings. This pioneering technology offers an eco-friendly alternative to conventional plastics, aiming to substantially lessen environmental impact. Based in the South West, Kelpi has attracted the attention of major global consumer goods companies like Diageo and L’Oréal, heralding a new era in packaging technology.

East Midlands-based Tended, a follow-on investment by Blackfinch, is revolutionising workplace safety with its accident-preventing wearable technology. Recognised by Time Magazine as one of 2023’s top inventions, Tended has secured substantial contracts, including a framework agreement with Siemens worth up to £7 million. With £2.8 million from EIS and £1.1 million from VCT funds since joining Blackfinch Ventures, Tended is poised for expansion, deploying over 400 devices in the coming months. This fast-growing company’s innovations are enhancing safety in heavy industry workplaces worldwide, showcasing the scalability and international appeal of UK 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.”