Funding is the bane of most founders’ lives – with what can seem like never-ending rounds of meetings with people who nod and smile and say nice things and then never get in contact again. It can be even worse for founders of hardware start ups who have proportionally far fewer funding sources to approach than the more widespread mobile app/social platform/retail funding availability.
To take some of the pain out of the procedure, we’ve pulled together a list of places – accelerators, angel networks, VCs, grants, loans, and so on – in the UK and Ireland that will specifically offer funding to hardware start ups. They’re arranged alphabetically below with short descriptions attached. If we’re missing any, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amadeus Capital Partners
Amadeus has funded over 90 companies and have a broad swathe of interests – most interesting to us is their small portfolio of advanced materials and cleantech companies.
A £100 million fund investing solely in UK-based companies. Initial investments are between £100k and £1 million, which is done alongside syndicates of business angels.
Business Growth Fund
Their focus is on late stage investment – they’ll typically put in between £2-10 million in companies with a turnover of £5 million +.
Doughty Hanson Technology Fund
Their head office is in London, but they have several offices throughout Europe. Hardware interests lie in cleantech. Late stage investment.
Investing primarily in Western Europe, they favour resource efficiency in transportation, energy and water, as well as smart materials. Typical investment is between €1-2 million, although actual range is anywhere from €250K to more than €10 million.
A government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. They offer grants to companies in any stage of development. Solely available to companies in the Republic of Ireland.
Frog Capital invests in companies based in resource efficiencies (alongside its software offerings). It’s looking for companies turning over more than €3 million, and expects to put in up to €20 million.
Google Ventures Europe
Google Ventures will invest in any field but they have a primary focus on machine learning and life sciences. Their European office is based in London.
A government body based in the UK who will fund, support, and connect innovative businesses. They’re based in Swindon and have competitions for up to £536 million of government funding available in 2014-2015. They’ll also provide advise on EU funding available, such as Horizon 2020. Only available for UK companies.
They’re a venture capital management with £40,000,000 behind them. They’ve got a strong interest in science and engineering based start-ups. Located in Harwell, Oxford.
Maven Capital Partners
Maven Capital has £370 million under its management. Its Scottish Loan Fund provides loans from £250,000 to £5 million to SMEs in Scotland and its Greater Manchester Loan Fund will provide loans of between £100,000 and £500,000 to businesses in the Greater Manchester region. It will also provide funding packages of £2-10 million to UK businesses valued at up to £25 million.
Octopus Ventures invests between £250,000 and £5 million with a team of 18 people. Their focus is on renewable energy.
OION (Oxford Investment Opportunity Network)
An angel network operated by Oxford Investment Opportunity who look to invest between £20,000 and £2,000,000. They charge 5% of funds raised.
They invest €21,000 per team in exchange for 8% equity as part of a 13-week programme. Open to all sectors.
Par Equity is based in Edinburgh. Their Par Innovation fund provides venture capital for post-revenue companies, alongside their Par Syndicate angel network.
Scottish Equity Partners
SEP invests in the technology, healthcare, and energy sectors. They predominantly invest in growth stage companies, but can make investments in earlier stage companies with outstanding potential. They tend to concentrate on companies based in the UK.
Summit has raised over $16 billion. Although primarily based in the US, they have a London office. Hardware investments tend to be limited to energy and industrial-based start-ups.
Sussex Place Ventures
A London-based venture capital firm, they’re interested in science-based companies. They additionally have strong ties to the London Business School.