By Max Clarke

Business start-ups in the South West of England have a new opportunity to obtain angel investment in the form of Horatio Investments — a £20m privately backed vehicle based in Glastonbury, Somerset.

The five member team is headed up by Martin Bowles, former Head of Corporate Solutions at Hargreaves Lansdown and Andrew Maynard, former Investment Manager for the South West Ventures Fund (SWVF).

“The South West Ventures Fund has been an excellent source of funding for businesses in the region and continues to do a great job managing its portfolio. However, having now reached the end of its investment period and not able to make new investments, there is a funding gap for small businesses in the South West. Horatio Investments is delighted to be able to address that gap,” says Horatio Investments MD Martin Bowles.

“Add to that the fact that the budget for RDAs has slumped 20% and that banks aren’t lending and the situation for a lot of South West business start ups has been looking pretty bleak. Horatio aims to change all that. We’re open for business”.

Horatio has £20m ready to invest across all sectors. The only criteria is that the business must be in the South West of England. The current status of businesses can range from ’proof of concept’ through start up, early stage, expansion capital, buy out and buy in. Horatio will invest between £100,000 to £500,000 in start-ups with additional investment planned for follow-on funding rounds. The focus is on all sector small businesses with exit plans from 3 years to 10 years or more. In return, Horatio will take an equity stake in the business.

Small business owners will find clear guidelines about their initial screening criteria on Horatio Investments website which should be reviewed before submitting a request for funding. They can also look at Horatio’s investment process where they are taken through the steps they need to follow, and the timescales expected for each step. Small businesses and their advisers will be fully informed throughout the process. For anyone interested in applying, Horatio expect to see a detailed plan to achieve strong, sustainable growth in profits.