Octopus launches Ventures EIS fund of up to £20m

Octopus Investments is launching a new Ventures EIS to help small and early-stage businesses which will help with COVID-19 recovery

Octopus Investments is launching a £20m Ventures EIS fund to invest in smaller UK companies and early-stage tech companies with high growth potential.

It will invest up to £20m per company across its lifetime but the fund itself is evergreen. This £20m limit applies to ‘knowledge intensive companies’ (those carrying out research, development or innovation), but non-knowledge intensive EIS-eligible companies can apply too. In this case, the fund would be capped at £12m.

Ventures EIS will typically invest from £1m for Seed stage to £10m for Series B and could continue to fund the companies right through to an initial public offering.

The fund will either invest as new investments, where Octopus is backing them for the first time, or as follow-on investments where Octopus is providing additional funding to companies it has already supported.

The Ventures EIS is specifically looking for start-ups covering:

  • Health: Transforming the health industry, from digital therapeutics through to biotechnology
  • Money: Revolutionising society’s ability to exchange and allocate financial resources and risk
  • Deep Tech: The tools and technologies that will power the next industrial revolution. These include quantum computing, robotics and drones, sensory human augmentation and 3D printing
  • Consumer: Reinventing the everyday, in how we live, work, travel, play, rest and recuperate

It is open to approaches from founders. The best way for founders to get in touch is using the portal on the website, or going direct into the most relevant team member.

The Ventures EIS will have access to Octopus Ventures, one of Europe’s largest and most active venture capital investors. To date, Octopus Ventures has backed almost 120 founding teams since 2007. It has backed well-known business including Zoopla, Secret Escapes and Graze.

Investors will be expected to make a minimum investment of £50,000, which will be tied up for between five to 10 years. In exchange, investors get 30 per cent income tax relief at the point of investment.

Alliott Cole, CEO at Octopus Ventures, said: “The UK in particular is now regarded as one of the best places in the world to grow and scale a business. That’s partly because of a compounding effect, where successful entrepreneurs and experienced start-up operators have gone on to build more and more businesses, leveraging all that know-how and sharing it with others.

“Clearly, this year has been challenging for some start-ups, but we’ve also seen an acceleration of fundamental changes in how we live and work, which means the long-term outlook for tech-enabled businesses is arguably better than it’s ever been.”

Further reading

12 of the most exciting tech companies in Oxford

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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Early Stage Funding