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September 2018

Investment helps women’s fitness enterprise step up to next level

A £156,000 investment from Bristol Private Equity Club has helped a fast-growing city business step up to the next level.

Launched with just a single facebook post in 2014, trailblazing women’s fitness brand This Mum Runs is now one of the fastest growing businesses in the city.

With 35,000 members worldwide, a team of highly qualified ‘Run Makers’ and an on-trend clothing range, This Mum Runs aims to empower all women not just in terms of their personal fitness but also mental wellbeing and ambition.

The business has now attracted £156,000 in investment funds from Bristol Private Equity Club, which will be used to scale up its community ready for a global roll-out as well as expanding its home-grown clothing brand.
This Mum Runs Founder and Chief Executive Mel Bound said: “I had posted an appeal on facebook for some mums to run with and more than 75 women turned up! This showed me there was a massive need – and a massive gap in the market. From that first moment we have grown to 35,000 members worldwide.” Mel explained: “We aim to give all women, particularly the ones who had dropped out of regular exercise for whatever reason and remove many of the barriers women face to regular exercise.”

This Mum Runs has 400 volunteer Run Angels who are trained to lead free weekly runs across 30 park locations in Bristol, Bath and London. The company is listed as a Sunday Times Top 100 ‘Disrupter’ brand and is one of just seven female-founded businesses.

The plan over the next two to three years is to build a global brand with up to 250,000 mums running in branded clothing in towns and cities across the world.

Mum of two and former Marketing Director Mel said the investment from Bristol Private Equity Club was important in enabling This Mum Runs to step up to the next level.

“Investment at this point is crucial in aggressively scaling up our community ready for a global roll out. It will also help us boost sales of our in-house apparel.” The eye-catching clothing range has been designed by Mel with help and suggestions from eight-year-old daughter Lyla. “I believe it’s important to show our children you can do something you love and build it up from scratch and have success.”

Jerry Barnes, Bristol Private Equity Club, founding member said: “This Mum Runs has progressed from its almost accidental launch to idealistic start-up to successful business in a startlingly short time.
“The clothing range they have road-tested around Bristol is eye-catching and popular with “can do” slogans which are inspiring women who haven’t run since their school days to give This Mum Runs a go.
“We were completely bowled over by their focus and determination to get the business offering just right for women of all fitness levels in Bristol.”

Bristol Private Equity Club enables those who have been successful in business to pass on their expertise and vital funds to businesses that can convince them they have a bright future.

The club was founded in May 2016 and has grown from six to 70 members, primarily supporting projects requiring between £100,000 and £500,000 of equity funding. Some 14 businesses have so far received equity funding totalling more than £3 millioon.

Investment cash brings £2.2m dividend for Bristol – JULY 2018
September 2018

Investment cash brings £2.2m dividend for Bristol

Bristol entrepreneurs backing the latest business ventures across the city have helped deliver a £2.2m windfall for the local economy.

The inaugural Business Performance Survey carried out on behalf of Bristol Private Equity Club has underlined the extent to which members’ investments have paid off for the wider Bristol economy and jobs market.
The investments have also indirectly provided additional public funds through tax and rates at local and national level.

BPEC founder member Jerry Barnes said of their multi-million pound investment programme: “There are always going to be people who look at what we do and say we are just a group of successful people looking for a hot investment opportunity to increase our own wealth. Our first in-depth business survey makes it clear how our investments are supporting the wider community.

“The new enterprises we have supported have generated £2.2m in terms of local business activities and wages – while contributing £511,000 in local and national taxation. Our first eight investments in six businesses enabled those involved to double their collective workforce creating 34 new jobs – a 110% rise in the number of people employed by them.

“While the numbers involved aren’t huge there is a clear potential to improve employment prospects in the city as we expand our investment portfolio. We only look for investments with a strong connection to Bristol so as our portfolio grows so does the benefit for Bristol.”

The survey looked at the impact that investments made in 2017 in six local businesses have had. Since then the Bristol Private Equity Club has invested in six further businesses. The survey will now be held annually to check the progress of all businesses that have been supported by the Club and track growth and benefit to Bristol.

Tax relief under the Enterprise Investment Scheme across the portfolio came to £523,000 but the strong growth of the businesses mean that tax paid has ensured the impact on the Exchequer is close to neutral in just one year.

Said Jerry Barnes: “The survey shows that providing tax incentives in the right area is a good thing for the public purse as it has enabled these businesses to grow and contribute and as they grow further that will benefit the exchequer.”

Launched in 2016, Bristol Private Equity Club now has over 70 members who offer experience as well as capital with the emphasis on backing projects in the Bristol and Bath area.

The club takes typically invests between £150,000 to £500,000 in businesses in return for a significant minority equity stake.

The six businesses that contributed data for the survey were Wriggle, Azul Optics, YellowDog, AutonoMe, Limber and NuNano.

BPEC Investment in ROVCO – APRIL 2018
September 2018


Fast-growing technology company Rovco, which is developing 3D vision and Artificial Intelligence techniques to carry out subsea inspections, has received £400,000 investment from the Bristol Private Equity Club.
Rovco, based in central Bristol, close to Temple Meads, is planning to grow from 10 to 30 employees in the next year as it further develops its technologies for use in the offshore renewable industry and oil field decommissioning.

Brian Allen, Founder and CEO of Rovco, said the move will not only provide the capital for the company’s next steps but also links the business to some of Bristol’s most influential and knowledgeable business brains.
He said: “The only real way for a business like ours to be successful is to sell equity and work in partnership with our new shareholders. This investment from Bristol Private Equity Club links us with 19 well-established successful business people from the Bristol area and enables us to plug into their network as we grow.

“The club is absolutely brilliant to work with and is extremely well organised and we like the idea that it is all Bristol business people involved.”

Rovco is aiming for its technology to be used instead of high-res video cameras for underwater inspections around offshore windfarms and on underwater pipelines and cables. Its 3D vision system and AI data analysis cuts the cost of underwater inspections and maintenance.

The business was launched in September 2016 and received funding from InnovateUK, the government’s Technology Strategy Board, which financed 70% of its first two project stages, as part of the UK’s robotics and AI in extreme environments programme in the AI sector deal.

Jerry Barnes, Bristol Private Equity Club, founding member said: “We feel that Rovco and the Bristol Private Equity Club are a perfect fit. There is no doubt that they are developing technology that is going to make a real difference in important industries and that the business can scale-up very quickly.

“It is fantastic that these businesses are forming and growing in Bristol and our club members want to do all they can to encourage local success. We are not alone in spotting the potential of Rovco as they have other individuals and investment syndicates backing them but the unique nature of the Bristol Private Equity Club means we will provide much more than just a source of finance.”

Bristol Private Equity Club was founded in May 2016 with just six investor/members and has grown to 70 members primarily supporting projects which need between £100,000 to £500,000 of equity funding, where members can make a real difference and enjoy a return. This is the eleventh deal concluded by BPEC resulting in investments of more than £2.7 million in two years.

Further Funding for AutonoMe – February 2018
September 2018


A new tranche of £330,000 investment capital from Bristol Private Equity Club is helping a West Country firm that provides technology to support people with learning disabilities to double its workforce further improve its technology.

The funds take the Bristol Private Equity Club’s total investment in AutonoMe to £435,000. The club is made up of successful entrepreneurs with spare capital from the region, who want to support growing businesses in the Bristol and Bath area.

AutonoMe has offices in Bristol’s Engine Shed and in Weston-Super-Mare and the scale-up funds will help further develop its product and support a growing client base delivering independent living skills to people with learning disabilities.

William Britton, Founder and CEO of AutonoMe, said: “We work with Local Authorities to help cost efficiently further the independence of their learning disability population.
“We used the original funding to pivot the business to access an emerging market – and have a number of new local authority clients across the region. The new investment will enable us to further scale up the business and expand the team in Bristol and the South West.”

AutonoMe is a support system that combines the power of video, mobile technology and data to help people with learning difficulties through everyday tasks, whenever they need it, helping them to live more independently.

Users can access videos that show them tasks such as using the vacuum cleaner or loading a dishwasher or using a washing machine through their mobile phone or tablet simply by scanning household items.
Jerry Barnes of Bristol Private Equity Club said: “We have been impressed at the progress made on the AutonoMe product since our initial investment and a number of our members were keen to ensure that the funds are there to scale-up to the next level.

“The care sector is a growing one and innovative solutions that harness the power of technology are the ones that will provide the solutions for the future. Bristol is at the forefront of such developments that can support people across the country and worldwide”.

The Bristol Private Equity Club has over 60 members, all successful entrepreneurs, who as well as being a source of funds provide a tremendous pool of talent with experience that can help businesses grow.
The club was founded in May 2016 with just six investor/members and has grown primarily by supporting projects which need between £100,000 to £500,000 of equity funding, where members can make a real difference and enjoy a return. This 11th deal means that the club has invested over £2 million in less than two years.



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