COLUMN: Ideas need investment to turn them into reality

Jason Kluver, COO of Shadow Foundr
Jason Kluver, COO of Shadow Foundr

Brighton is teeming with a mix of clever, creative and enterprising people. The city is a start-up hotspot – and while some soar, most are small and micro businesses.

Given the lifestyle benefits, plenty are happy to plod along. But for those who want to grow, money is a key constraint.

Banks lend less freely than they once did. As a result, alternatives like crowdfunding have sprung up to plug the gaps.

Our own investment platform, Shadow Foundr, is rooted in the area while looking way beyond our Brighton home. The same is true of our latest success story – inspirational entrepreneurs making the most of Brighton’s growing strengths in life sciences, digital and innovation.

Having carried out the usual due diligence, Shadow Foundr hosted a fundraising round for LIfT BioSciences with a target of £250,000. Dozens of investors ensured the target was easily beaten.

LIfT is short for Leukocyte Infusion Therapy, a breakthrough treatment for cancer brought to Britain by the company’s founder Alex Blyth.

He was spurred on by his mother’s illness. She fell ill with pancreatic cancer – one of the hardest cancers to treat. Sadly, she died before Alex and his colleagues were able to take clever lab work to the brink of becoming a widely available treatment.

Shadow Foundr – and fintech businesses like ours – work with a wide range of businesses wanting to grow, not only those in healthcare.

Whether we’re talking about the latest technology, including AI or robotics, or game changers in other ways, we know that it can be hard to fund expansion even when a business is innovative, disruptive or scalable.

Our investors like early-stage opportunities although not too early-stage! And it helps to have a quality team in place and a proven track record.

A fund manager working with emerging companies, Dev Kohli, said: “Start-ups find it relatively easy to raise money at the friends-and-family round.

“But after that comes the first big venture capital rounds of, say, £3 million to £4 million. Riding the gap between that is difficult.”

Shadow Foundr and others like us are increasingly helping firms to bridge the gap.

For more information about Shadow Foundr or to view other campaigns requiring investment, visit: www.shadowfoundr.com.

Jason Kluver is the COO of Brighton-based business Shadow Foundr.