What is Sustainable Accelerator?
Sustainable Accelerator, led by the Sustainable Ventures management team, supports the UK’s best SEIS & EIS sustainability startups.
Our goal is to empower the next generation of businesses redefining the way we consume energy, manage waste, clean air, and apply smart resource technology. Sustainable Ventures’ success over the last 5 years has exemplified how sustainability is no longer niche, as resource economics fundamentally change how industries work.
Sustainable Accelerator is now raising a fund via Seedrs, to provide investment to start-ups accepted into the Sustainable Accelerator programme. The Sustainable Accelerator Fund will invest between £50k - £250k into around 10 high potential sustainability businesses. Sustainable Accelerator will provide a high touch 1 year programme of expert mentorship, network introductions, fundraising support, and growth services to the cohort.
By investing in the Sustainable Accelerator Fund, you will gain access to a portfolio of sustainability businesses benefitting from our threefold strategy: (1) gain exposure only to startups receiving substantial 1-on-1 support from our experienced team, (2) diversify exposure across multiple startups, and (3) leverage grant and tax advantages for the sustainability sector – making your investment go further.
We are also pleased to announce governmental body London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) is investing £300k alongside the crowd into the Sustainable Accelerator Fund.
Sustainable Ventures Track Record
Since 2011, Sustainable Ventures has developed a successful portfolio of sustainability businesses, championing innovative solutions and attracting significant later stage funding.
We also have experience funding companies alongside the crowd, having achieved the UK’s first crowdfunded exit, when E-Car Club was bought by car rental giant Europcar within 4 years of inception.
Some of Sustainable Ventures' portfolio companies include:
E-car Club is the UK’s leading all electric car club. In 2015, Europe’s largest car hire company, Europcar, acquired a majority stake, marking the first ever exit of a partly crowdfunded startup.
Powervault is an innovative fully integrated home electricity storage solution. Since its inception in 2012, the company has attracted £2.45m of equity funding, and has won numerous awards for its technology.
AutoTrip is a connected cars startup, using pioneering technology to transform how businesses interact with employee vehicles, and is preparing for a Series A late 2017.
Sustainable Ventures is now looking to apply the expertise it has developed from years of nurturing its own portfolio to establish an early stage accelerator programme for start-ups in the sustainability space.
How our Acceleration Programme strengthens start-ups
An accelerator is a hands-on model for funding early stage companies; by providing startups with a package of investment and support, good accelerators provide unfair advantages to their portfolio companies – giving them the best shot for success.
We plan to pair an investment of £50 - £250k (from the funds raised via this Campaign) with a 1 year accelerator programme, which makes us more invested and more embedded than the classic model, typically lasting 3 months with an investment of between £10-50k.
Our belief is that by spending a full year (1) embedding the experience of our management team into our startups, (2) offering services we know help founders succeed, and (3) sharing our readymade industry network, the companies we select will routinely outperform their peers.
The 1-year Sustainable Accelerator programme will consist of:
• Routine 1-on-1s with experienced Programme Directors.
• Dedicated fundraising support / preparation
• Access to experienced industry mentors
• Panels & feedback from successful entrepreneurs
• Access to our readymade industry network
Our relationship with Sustainable Ventures allows portfolio companies to gain access to their suite of proprietary growth services during their year-in-residence, including:
• Bid Writing (leverage £125m+ /y in available grants)
• Bookkeeping (avoid messes down the line)
• Tax Rebates (use government support)
Our relationship with Sustainable Workspaces, the UK’s largest sustainability cluster to our knowledge, allows us to place companies there. Residence means far more than desk space – it means better networks, more learning experiences, and a greater chance of success.
• Priority access to workspace
• Work with like-minded sustainability startups
• Attend tailored events across calendar year
What does Sustainable Accelerator look for?
We will be looking for early stage, SEIS & EIS eligible, UK sustainability businesses to join our accelerator programme.
Though we are interested in a range of themes across sustainability, there are a few we are particularly bullish on – where we believe disruption is inevitable.
When evaluating opportunities, we predominantly reference the following criteria.
For our programme, we expect high quality teams, early traction, and a disruptive technology or business model. We want companies capable of gaining momentum from £50 – £250k worth of fuel, and coachable founders willing to leverage our programme to the fullest.
Who am I investing alongside?
We are raising a minimum of £600k from investors looking for curated exposure to the broader sustainability space.
Should there be sufficient demand, Sustainable Accelerator would be prepared to overfund to help increase our anticipated portfolio size, and/or retain a proportion of the cash as a reserve dedicated for follow on funding.
Our management team is investing a total of £100k into Sustainable Accelerator Fund. These funds will be deployed into the cohort companies in the same way as other funds raised via Seedrs, aligning our interests with anyone who joins us via Seedrs.
The governmental body London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) is investing £300k into Sustainable Accelerator, supporting overlapping goals to find, fund, and accelerate the best circular economy businesses. LWARB’s investment arm performed their own due diligence on Sustainable Accelerator, leading up to their final investment approval.
Sustainable Accelerator uses a threefold strategy to maximise the potential of cohort companies.
(1) Substantially Support Companies
We offer investee companies more than just funding – we provide our experience, proprietary growth services, and readymade networks so our chosen early stage companies have the best chance of success, ensuring portfolio companies have the runway, tools, and mentorship to succeed. This also means our investors are only exposed to companies receiving significant support, from an experienced team, when navigating early stage growth.
(2) Diversify Investment
The accelerator fund model diversifies capital, giving investors exposure across a spread of companies within the sustainability sector. We believe in investing early and broadly – a tactic responsible for unearthing internationally successful technology companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Magic Pony Technologies.
(3) Leverage Investment with Grant & Tax Advantages
Tax advantages and sustainability specific grant initiatives allow us to offer investors some downside protection, and make your investment go further.
Significant SEIS/EIS tax advantages exist to support investment into early stage companies; all cohort companies will require HMRC advanced assurance for either SEIS or EIS relief. However, any tax relief is dependent on individual circumstances and is subject to change.
The sector qualifies early stage startups for more than £125m annually in (non-dilutive) public funding to support rapid growth – we help startups secure grant funding, increasing their runway without decreasing your equity holding.
*Please note that any tax relief is dependent on personal circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Andrew Wordsworth, Managing Director
Andrew co-founded Sustainable Ventures in 2011, holds over 15 years in new venture development, and has been directly involved in securing over £250m in equity commitments into portfolio ventures.
Prior to Sustainable Ventures, Andrew held roles at Esso, Bain & Co and as Managing Director of Carbon Trust Enterprises Limited – where he invested alongside the likes of HSBC and SSE. Andrew holds a first class MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, where he was awarded the University Fox Prize.
Peter Shortt, Chief Investment Officer
Peter is an experienced Venture Capital fund manager with a focus on environmental businesses, having spent 30 years in VC covering seed investments to IPOs.
Prior to Sustainable Ventures, he led the Corporate Finance team at the Ministry of Defense responsible for selling a number of owned businesses – including the Defense Support Group, sold to Babcock PLC for £140m. Prior, he was an Executive Director at Shareholder Executive, where he coinvested UK Government capital alongside private funds.
Peter was also Chief Investment Officer of Carbon Trust Investment Partners, where he oversaw the successful IPOs of Ceres Power and CMR.
Arjune Shukla, Lead Investment Associate
Arjune has spent his tenure at Sustainable Ventures diligencing and developing its early stage portfolio. Prior to Sustainable Ventures, he worked as an analyst at a private equity fund, where his team invested into natural resources, renewables, and technology deals. Arjune holds an honours BA, MSc, and MPhil from Johns Hopkins and Cambridge Universities, with each degree covering different interfaces of environment / finance / technology.
What are the fees?
100% of the invested funds will be eligible for EIS or SEIS tax relief (dependent on the personal circumstances of the investors and subject to change), as no management fees are charged to investors at the point of investment.
Up front fees are only charged to the investee companies. Each investee company will be charged a fee upon investment, determined by the investment size as set out below:
• 6% of the amount invested from the fund up to £150,000;
• 4% of the amount invested from the fund between £150,000 and £500,000;
• 2% of the amount invested from the fund over £500,000;
• plus £2,000 and any applicable VAT.
This fee will be shared between Sustainable Accelerator and Seedrs. These fees are equivalent to Seedrs’ standard crowdfunding financing fees.
To deliver our yearlong acceleration programme, Sustainable Accelerator charges investee companies £2k per month.
Sustainable Accelerator is also motivated by a carry fee on any profits made by an investor on a per investment basis. Sustainable Accelerator will charge a carry fee equal to 12.5% of profits investors make on each investment into an investee company. Seedrs will also charge its standard 7.5% carry fee.
Investor capital will be held in escrow by Seedrs until SEIS or EIS eligible startups are identified by Sustainable Accelerator and accepted into the programme.
Once a company has been selected for the Sustainable Accelerator programme, Seedrs as nominee, will perform legal due diligence and then invest your funds directly into the chosen business in exchange for equity. Seedrs holds these shares as your nominee (in the same way it does for startups that raise money on its platform).
The valuation that investments are made at will be the same for all investors in the Sustainable Accelerator Fund, including the management team who will be responsible for negotiating the valuation terms.
How does Sustainable Accelerator source start-ups?
Sustainable Accelerator will leverage the established Sustainable Ventures network to help source start-ups. We already have strong relationships with many of the industry’s best incubators, earlier stage accelerators, and venture capitalists from years of working side by side.
Can I get involved with portfolio companies?
Yes. We intend to give investors of over £10k access to three private events attended by portfolio companies and partners, meant to generate feedback and thoughts for development. Further access to Sustainable Ventures Investor Network events is also provided.
Investors of over £10k with significant experience valuable to early stage startups (such as entrepreneurship, finance, consulting, applied technology, marketing) may be invited to join our mentor network to play an advisory role for a portfolio company.
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