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Equity Gap in pledge to back young firms through slump


Top team: Jock Millican with Fraser Lusty

Jock Millican, chairman of Investment syndicate Equity Gap, says its members will continue supporting young businesses through the pandemic to help underpin the economy.

The angel group remains on the lookout for promising technology companies.

Among recent investments was Aberdeen-based green tech start-up, Trojan Energy which secured a £4.1 million round of seed funding to support the roll-out of its on-street flat and flush electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

It was among 22 investments in the first half of 2020, with total member funds invested since Equity Gap launched 10 years ago topping £20 million.

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Having grown from 15 to 150 members since inception, the firm’s portfolio of more than 30 early stage start-ups has created in excess of 400 jobs, primarily in Scotland, across a range of sectors including consumer product, food and drink, life science and SaaS.  

But, as the UK officially moves into recession, Equity Gap’s directors believe entrepreneurs and new businesses must play a significant part in rebooting the economy by creating employment opportunities, fuelling growth and driving future prosperity.

Mr Millican, founder and director of Equity Gap and also chairman of the LINC Scotland angel capital association, said: “We have worked hard to ensure continuity of business and investment through an unsettling time and this is reflected in our half year figures.

“With a healthy pipeline of new investments, Equity Gap is well placed to continue to support young businesses through angel investment.

“It has never felt more important to support these fledgling organisations as we rebuild our economy.

“We are grateful to our syndicate members, who are now delivering more funding rounds to the emerging businesses within the portfolio than ever before. Equity Gap’s angels have stepped up and we have seen a significant investment uptake since March this year.

We have long been impressed by the quality and innovation delivered by our portfolio companies

– Fraser Lusty, Equity Gap

“An increase in scale up funding options for organisations with high growth potential is essential to help them realise their growth aspirations. Scotland’s angel investment community will continue to pull together to support our entrepreneurs.

“Overall figures from Q2 of 2020 show Scotland’s angel syndicates led 58 deals which totalled £40.87 million with approximately 20% of this investment going into new companies.”

Fraser Lusty, director, who joined Equity Gap shortly after it was established, said: “We have long been impressed by the quality and innovation delivered by our portfolio companies, but to see how many of these organisations have risen to the extraordinary challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic is nothing short of inspiring.

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“Many of these firms have been able to pivot activity to focus on helping their own customers survive the breakneck shift online.

“For example, as the food and drink sector emerges from lockdown, QikServe’s touchless ordering and payment solution affords a simple answer for many bars and restaurants to manage these new processes.

“The future has many uncertainties, but we are confident that we will further develop our own digital technologies to support our membership and portfolio.

“We continue to educate and encourage active angel investment, and aim to support as many innovative new businesses as possible over the next decade.”

Other recent investments include Hydrosense, which has developed breakthrough technology for rapid testing for legionella, Boundary Technologies, the smart home security start-up, and MIME Technologies, specialists in medtech for in-flight emergencies.

Earlier this year Equity Gap expanded its operations by hiring three more members of staff, taking the team to a total of nine, and moving to an Edinburgh city centre office.

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