Software company Sci-Net secures first IP-backed loan from NatWest

NatWest has recently extended its inaugural mass-market Intellectual Property-backed loan to Sci-Net, a rapidly expanding software enterprise located just outside Oxford, in Chipping Norton.

Sci-Net, a Microsoft Tier 1 Gold partner, has secured a £700,000 loan from NatWest. This IP-backed loan from the bank is set to support the company's growth and enhance its already notable customer base, which includes national retailer Tapi Carpets, jewellery retailers Missoma and Jessica McCormack, as well as national distributors.

NatWest's new High Growth IP Loan, developed in collaboration with specialist IP valuers Inngot, aims to bridge the funding gap for high-growth companies. The loans are available from amounts starting at £250,000, covering up to 50% of the company’s intellectual property value. This encompasses software, patents, copyrights, trademarks, and registered designs, all appraised using Inngot’s bespoke systems and processes.

Established in 1998, Sci-Net has formed partnerships with numerous leading technology firms and businesses across the retail, e-commerce retail, and distribution sectors. With the financial backing and continued support from NatWest, Sci-Net plans to further develop its ERP>Retail and ERP>Trade software solutions, which are integral to its clients' comprehensive business operations. The company also anticipates that the loan will generate six new employment opportunities in the local area.

Neil Bellamy, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms at NatWest Group, said: “It’s a pleasure to have supported Sci-Net with the bank’s first IP-backed loan. As a bank we work with some of the country’s most innovative startups and our aim is always to enable them to leverage the things that really drive their success. With this loan, we have shown the potential that unlocking value from IP and intangible assets could have for UK economy, by helping firms to scale, create high value jobs and boost UK productivity. I am excited to see what Sci-Net does next.”

Duncan Fergusson, Managing Director of Sci-Net, said: “One of our biggest goals is improving efficiency, automation and customer service amongst businesses we work with and our software, which we’ve created and enhanced, has helped us to do just that! Accepting this loan from NatWest is a fantastic opportunity to facilitate road mapping and growing the software further so we’re able to work with more businesses across various sectors. Not only has NatWest been great with providing financial aid, but it has also shared great business support and recommendations. Our Relationship Manager has been very supportive and has continuously gone the extra mile – we can’t thank them enough for their help.”

David Buckmaster, Relationship Manager at NatWest, added: “Duncan and the whole Sci-Net team are some of the most intelligent and ambitious people I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring. Their hunger for success never ceases to amaze me and I’m proud to have supported them on their growth journey.”

Martin Brassell, Chief Executive of Inngot, said: “This marks the first time we have seen a UK bank willing to attribute collateral value directly to IP assets, at repayment levels that are highly affordable. The £250,000 starting point makes IP-based funding accessible to growth companies at real scale.

“It rewards UK SMEs for investing in IP, and I believe it will help more companies to realise the importance and value of a strong IP strategy. I can’t think of a better way to encourage SMEs to take IP more seriously than to show them that they can borrow against its value.”