COMPANIES: GoCardless to OneWeb

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on March 4, 2019, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Jaymantri from Pexels



cancer therapy - challenger bank - satellite builder - payments - funding platform

- video editing software - home retail - video sharing –promotional videos –

cat-sitting agency - investment banking platforms


Hereford :: London x 7 :: Wimbledon :: Coventry :: Norwich


Proton Partners | Oaknorth Bank | OneWeb | GoCardless | Capitalise | Forbidden Technologies £760k | Conran Holdings £44.6m | Wotch.Io | Wing £2m | Cat in a Flat | Nivaura


News about 11 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 17th February – 2nd March 2019:



PROTON PARTNERS: cancer therapy - Hereford

Neil Woodford eyes £320m float of proton beam clinics | Peter Evans and Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. February 17 2019

DZ profile: Proton Partners International Limited

Business: operates proton beam therapy centres for cancer treatment in Newport, south Wales, Reading and Bomarsund near Newcastle upon Tyne. Each centre costs about £25m. A fourth will open in Liverpool next year. investment fund that has financed the building of Britain’s first proton beam

Launched: 2015

Location: Hereford, Herefordshire

Founder: Mike Moran

Financials: year ended 28 February 2018 the Group made a loss of £8.7m (2017: £5.8m).

Investment: Investors include City fund manager Neil Woodford and biotech entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans. Woodford also has a holding in its parent company, ARIX BIOSCIENCE, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Is planning to raise £50m on the NEX Exchange, a junior market based in London. The company was valued at £165m when it raised £25m from investors last year, according to the data provider Beauhurst.

News:  Proton beam therapy is seen as safer than traditional radiotherapy for some cancers because it can target tumours more directly. It has only recently become available on the NHS, although the health service can treat only about 1,500 patients a year.



OAKNORTH BANK: challenger bank - London

Is this tech darling too good to be true? | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. February 17 2019, 12:01am,

DZ profile: Oaknorth Bank Plc

Business: challenger bank which lends to fast-growing small businesses and licenses its bespoke lending technology to other banks. …claims to have a technology that takes the risk out of lending to traditionally high-risk companies. As security, OakNorth uses businesses’ assets and sometimes accepts personal guarantees. OakNorth has created a category it calls “bespoke lending”. There are no templates for companies in certain sectors, and successful applicants can receive the cash in just over two weeks. Traditional banks can take six months. By comparison, Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lender to small businesses, said its default rate for loans made last year was 3%-3.8%. Its loan originations grew by 40% to £2.3bn last year, typically offering much smaller sums.

Launched: 2013

Location: London

Founder: Rishi Khosla, 43

Financials: is profitable - in 2017, it made £10.6m before tax. Khosla said the figure doubled last year.

Investment: $1bn so far from Japan’s SOFTBANK, a backer of Uber and WeWork, and investors such as TOSCAFUND and CLERMONT GROUP.  This month SoftBank led an investment round worth $440m (£342m)  the largest ever fundraising for a European fintech business  ….valueing OakNorth at $2.8bn.


1. Lord (Adair) Turner, former Financial Services Authority chairman, and former Cabinet Office minister Lord (Francis) Maude sit on its advisory board

2. Total bank lending to small businesses was £58bn last year — about the same as in 2017 — according to the British Business Bank. However, OakNorth’s loan book grew by nearly 160%. The company says it has helped create 9,500 new homes and 11,000 jobs.

3. …does not disclose its average loan size or the number of businesses it has backed, although it does publicise some deals. Last year it provided a package worth £42m to pub operator RED OAK TAVERNS and £21m to FORTIS GROUP, a property developer. It will lend from £500,000 to £40m or more, it said.



ONEWEB: satellite builder - London

UK Space Agency fires £18m into Oneweb for a global communications network in space | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 18 February 2019

DZ profile: Network Access Associates Limited (OneWeb)

Business: satellite firm, formerly known as WorldVu Satellites, building a new global communications network in space, which will improve access to high-speed broadband from anywhere on the planet. Acting as a global communications network in space, Oneweb has a launch target of 650 satellites by 2021 before expanding to more than 900 satellites over time. Named Project Sunrise  …initially focusing on technologies for satellite payloads, ground connections and the removal of space debris.

Launched: 2015

Location: White City, London

Founder: Greg Wyler, in Arlington, Virginia, USA

Staff: will employ up to 200 staff. Chief executive Adrian Steckel. Chief commercial officer Nicolas Zibell.

Investment: raised funding in 2016 via a $1.2bn (£928.6m) round led by SOFTBANK, also counts AIRBUS, COCA-COLA, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson and QUALCOMM among its investors. Softbank-backed. UK SPACE AGENCY has just invested £18m


1. the first batch of 10 satellites of the Oneweb network are due to be launched on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana next week.


Airbus and Softbank-backed Oneweb to launch first satellites into space | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 27 February 2019

2. The satellites are currently built by the joint venture, named Oneweb Satellites, in Toulouse. However from next month, the operation will move to a purpose-built warehouse in Florida valued at $85m (£63.7m).

3.  Oneweb also today announced it has closed its two first commercial deals for the satellites with telecoms firms Talia and Intermatica.

4. is on track to have launched more than 25 per cent of its satellite network by the end of this year.



GOCARDLESS: payments - London

Fintech founder rebounds from bike accident with $75m investment | Martin Coulter, FT. February 18, 2019

DZ profile: Gocardless Ltd

Business: Digital payments start-up which allows its more than 30,000 corporate clients to collect recurring payments online using bank account details rather than debit and credit card numbers. The company processes about $10bn of payments globally every year.

Launched: 2011

Location: London

Founders: Hiroki Takeuchi, chief executive and Tom Blomfield, who later left to launch digital lender MONZO

Investment: has raised $75m from GV —previously called Google Ventures — ADAM STREET PARTNERS and SALESFORCE VENTURES … alongside previous investors ACCEL PARTNERS, BALDERTON CAPITAL, NOTION CAPITAL and PASSION CAPITAL.


1. Mr Takeuchi damaged his spine after his bike collided with a parked car in central London in September 2016, only a few months after GoCardless raised $13m in its last fundraising round.  …. returned to work in a wheelchair in 2017.

2.  new investment for global expansion. In the past year the company has opened offices in Paris, Munich and Melbourne, and plans to launch in the US and Spain this year.



CAPITALISE: funding platform - London

Accountancy funding platform Capitalise secures £3.5m Series A investment backed by QED Investors and Hambro |

Jessica Clark, City A.M. 20 February 2019

DZ profile: Platfi Ltd (Capitalise)

Business: Accountancy funding platform which works with 105 institutional partners / advisers – INCLUDING ARMSTRONG WATSON, FARNELL CLARKE and PFK INTERNATIONAL - to “navigate the ever growing market of financial products for SMEs ….allowing accountants to diversify their revenue streams and support SMEs in areas which previously would have fallen outside of their remit.”

Launched: 204

Location: London

Founders: Paul Surtees, CEO and Ollie Maitland, Chief Product Officer

Staff: 20

Financials: compound annual growth rate of 234 per cent

Investment: has closed a £3.5m Series A investment round led by US venture capital firm QED INVESTORS and supported by existing investor HAMBRO PERKS



FORBIDDEN TECHNOLOGIES: video editing software - Wimbledon

Reinvention is key for small tech companies | Nic Fildes, FT.  February 23, 2019

DZ profile: Forbidden Technologies Plc

Business: cloud-based video editing software. Its Blackbird technology is still predominantly used in Soho’s post-production cottage industry. Was used by US broadcaster NBC during the London Olympics.

Launched: 1998

Location: Wimbledon

Staff: chief executive Ian McDonough, a media veteran who took over in 2017

Financials: Revenue in the six months to June was £377,000, up from £316,000 a year earlier, while its new net loss was broadly flat at £1.2m. To 31-Dec-17; Revenue £0.76m; Pre-Tax -£2.36m

Investment: floated on Aim in 2000. It raised £5m in June last year via a placing at 5p a share.

News:  The strategy is to move away from the one-off projects it specialises in… to secure larger, longer-term deals with sports rights holders and broadcasters for editing, and also involving new areas such as esports tournaments and social media channels where video-clip tools are essential. PELOTON, the fitness brand, signed up to use Blackbird to make video clips in January.



CONRAN HOLDINGS: home retail - London

Sir Terence Conran’s furniture wobbles into red | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. February 24 2019

DZ profile: Conran Holdings Limited

Business: owner of furniture shops in locations including London and Paris plus an architecture and interior design studio …has expanded its chain of design shops as far as Japan.

Launched: 1993

Location: London

Founder: Sir Terence Conran, 87, started the homeware retailer Habitat in 1964 and built it into the Storehouse retail empire.

Financials: Turnover rose from £39.5m to £44.6m, with a pre-tax loss of £2.6m for the 12 months to the end of March up from £393,000 a year earlier. Accounts reveal that the group paid £1.3m in rent and other charges to MICHELIN HOUSE INVESTMENT COMPANY, which is majority-owned by Sir Terence. Michelin House paid a £2m dividend last year.



WOTCH.IO: video sharing - Coventry

Channel 4 gives voice to start-up | Ben Woods, The Sunday Times. February 24 2019

DZ profile: STSL Limited (

Business: social media app that allows users to share and create videos using smartphones that ….aspires to rival YouTube. Wotch, which launched on Apple’s App Store last week, aims to make money by selling advertising.

Launched: 2018

Location: Coventry

Founders: James Sadler, 22 and Scott Willson, 21,

Investment: launched Wotch after raising £80,000 through the ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SCHEME. They have joined the Virgin start-up accelerator programme and are looking to raise £1m to invest in marketing and product development


1. has struck an exclusive partnership deal with CHANNEL 4. The broadcaster will supply content from a number of its shows, including the documentary series Superpets.

2.  has recruited a former BBC Worldwide commercial manager, Stuart Wettenhall, to its board. He is director of global digital distribution for STUDIO 71, which represents more than 100 social media “influencers” in Britain.



WING: promotional videos - London

The London couple behind Wing who made their videos fly faster | Alex Lawson, The Evening Standard. 25 February 2019

DZ profile: Wing Limited

Business: make sports-themed videos for clients including Hugo Boss and Nissan. Ingham realised there was a market for promotional videos which weren’t TV ads a Wimbledon video for Jaguar with Andy Murray, several McLaren F1 car launches and a series of daredevil stunts with Alex Thomson for Hugo Boss.  The firm’s defining work has been two gruelling Olympic campaigns.  …contracts with COCA-COLA, SAMSUNG and LLOYDS followed …plans are in motion for Tokyo 2020. Wing makes a good margin by keeping overheads low, owning filming equipment and putting as much budget as possible into what appears on the screen. Shoots are often tricky: at high speed, under water or in extreme weather conditions.

Launched: 2009

Location: west London

Founders: Tessa and Will Ingham

Staff: 15 (up to 60 on shoots)

Financials: Turnover is between £2m and £2.5m.



CAT IN A FLAT: cat-sitting agency - Norwich

Here kitty kitty: The entrepreneurs turning cat-loving into a business | Rachel Cunliffe, City A.M. 25 February 2019

DZ profile: Cat In A Flat Limited

Business: an online platform that matches cat owners with potential cat sitters in their local area - now active in seven UK cities, as well as Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Ireland. Has had over 100,000 sign-ups so far, with 4,000 to 5,000 cat-sitting bookings per month. Both parties sign up for free, with sitters listing their experience levels, controlling their availability, and setting their own rates – which tend to range from about £8 to check on and feed a cat once a day in London, to around £50 for an overnight stay. There’s no subscription fee – instead, the business takes a cut of each transaction. Bookings made via the site come with insurance for both veterinary reimbursement and accidental home damage, giving owners that extra peace of mind.

Launched: 2015

Location: Norwich

Founders: Kathrin Burckhardt and Julie Barnes

Financials: doubling its revenue every year

Investment: friends and family



NIVAURA: investment banking platforms - London

London Stock Exchange Group leads $20m Nivaura funding round | Jessica Clark, City A.M. 27 February 2019

DZ profile: Nivaura Ltd

Business: Fintech firm which provides blockchain technology for digital investment banking platforms

Launched:  2016

Location: London

Founder: chief executive, Dr. Avtar Sehra, who holds an MSci in Physics, PhD in Particle Physics and MRes in Computational Engineering. Is also the company’s Product Architect.

Investment: has closed a $20m (£15m) seed capital round led by LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP. Other investors included ALLEN & OVERY, LINKLATERS, SANTANDER INNOVENTURES and TRANSAMERICA VENTURES.


1. Nivaura will use the funding to rapidly expand its leadership, business development and technical teams. The company also plans to use the financing to enter new markets and cover new asset classes.

2. London Stock Exchange chief executive Nikhil Rathi has been appointed as a Nivaura board member.

Allen & Overy senior debt capital markets lawyer Richard Cohen has joined the firm as general counsel and head of strategy, while former HSBC banking and markets division vice chairman Spencer Lake has joined as a board member.