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January 2020

A Bristol-based business that is developing smartphone software that will help in the monitoring of eye health has received £225,000 in investment funds from a group of established business people in the city.

Thirteen successful entrepreneurs, who are members of Bristol Private Equity Club have provided the funds for OKKO, which is developing smartphone software for the home-monitoring of eye health.

Dr. Stephanie Campbell, who co-founded OKKO said: “We are using the latest technology to change for the better the way that eye appointments work. Early detection and prompt treatment of eye disease reduces costs and saves sight.

“Like many hospital services eye departments are completely overstretched and demand is far outstripping the supply of eye doctors and specialists. Currently, no reliable and safe home-monitoring technology exists, so all eye disease monitoring appointments must be done in person at the clinic. OKKO’s smartphone technology will allow patients to safely home-monitor their sight and to avoid visits to hospital until necessary.”  

OKKO’s technology creates brand new sets of big data about vision – their data could soon drive new insights into eye health.

The funding from Bristol Private Equity Club will allow the team at OKKO to take the technology they have developed through early clinical testing and continue to build the growing team.

Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club said: “Our members are keen to support innovation and technology in Bristol and to help businesses with a great idea to scale up. The fact that 13 experienced business people with a lifetime of success behind them have backed OKKO speaks for itself.

“Stephanie and her team have both a brilliant and practical idea and are working hard to make their technology product a reality in a tough market. It shows how Bristol is a pioneering city when it comes to the use of technology. Digital health is receiving huge global investment at present, and we’re delighted to invest in a start-up focussed in one of the fastest growing areas of medicine.”

Cook Corporate Solicitors acted for BPEC in the deal. BPEC now has 85 successful entrepreneurs and business people from the Bristol area with capital to invest as club members. In three years the club has invested more than £6 million into 20 different businesses. 

Further details can be found at

Issued on behalf of Bristol Private Equity Club by Empica

January 2020

A group of 22 Bristol-based entrepreneurs have invested their money in a growing business that is looking at new ways of using advanced materials, including the development of an “electronic nose”.

The group, all members of Bristol Private Equity Club have invested a total of £222,000 into Anaphite, based in Unit DX in St Philips Bristol as part of a total fund-raising package of £425,000 by the business.

Anaphite was founded to look at ways to exploit the potential of graphene by Sam Burrow and Alexander Hewitt after they left university. Their impressive work so far in the Unit DX incubation space has also attracted grants totalling over £500,000 over the last year from Innovate UK.

Chief Operating Officer Alexander Hewitt said: “The fact that people with a wealth of diverse business experience believe we can succeed, makes us excited and optimistic about the future. They see the scalability of the business and the potential impact it can have.

“We will be specifically using much of the funding from BPEC to develop our work in using advanced materials in gas sensors. We are developing an ‘electronic nose’ that could be used to detect hazardous gases; to monitor harmful pollutants in our cities; in food safety by indicating when food has gone off; and in health care by detecting certain gases in breath.

“The rest of our funding will be used to further our work on batteries. We are using a powerful material called “graphene” for this , as it  has got high electrical conductivity, high strength and high thermal conductivity so we are looking at how it can be used to prolong battery life and improve charging speed, so that devices do not have to be charged for as long or replaced so often.”

Bristol Private Equity Club has matched the pilot Regional Angel Investment Accelerator (RAIA) Innovate UK Grant that is part of a programme managed by SETSquared in Bristol that is designed to encourage angel investment into South West businesses.

Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club said: “This is an exciting business that has got so much potential to develop materials that will influence life in many areas in the future. The fact that so many of our members were interested shows the fantastic potential of Anaphite.

“We look for Bristol businesses that have scalability and can make a real difference to the way we live our lives in the future.”  

BPEC has 90 successful entrepreneurs and business people from the Bristol area with capital to invest as club members. Since it was founded three years ago the club has invested more than £6 million into 21 different businesses. 

Rovco receives further £400K BPEC investment as part of £5m funding round
January 2020

Subsea technology firm Rovco has received a further investment of £400,000 from Bristol Private Equity Club as part of a larger £5 million funding round led by Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund.

The funds will be used to support Rovco’s international expansion and continued development of its state-of-the-art 3D computer vision and artificial intelligence subsea technology.

Jerry Barnes, CEO and founder of Bristol Private Equity Club, which has now invested a total of £930,000 in Rovco since 2018, said the latest investment was another illustration of the group’s commitment to Bristol’s tech and start-up scenes.

“Bristol has always been a desirable location for people and businesses alike, and over the last ten years or so it has carved itself a reputation as one of the premier locations outside London for tech companies to base themselves,” he said.

“As an organisation, BPEC is focused on investing in those companies with the potential to scale up rapidly with our support and continue to generate employment, wealth and other opportunities right here in Bristol.”

Utilising its SubSLAM technology, Rovco has carried out many subsea projects across the renewables and oil and gas industries globally. In 2019 the company marked a milestone, investing heavily into research and development to create a world-first in subsea 3D Live-Streaming to propel the business forward.

Brian Allen, founder and CEO of Rovco, said: “Rovco is an ever-expanding and innovative organisation. We have seen incredible success throughout the last year and this additional investment will offer us the opportunity to continue in our quest to deliver state-of-the-art technology to our given markets and allow us to invest in our team. We are grateful for BPEC’s continued confidence in our business and look forward to making 2020 another successful year.”

Formed in 2015, Rovco is changing the way underwater work is performed and pushing the boundaries of subsea technology, investing heavily in the development of an artificial intelligence-driven data platform and live 3D vision systems for subsea robotics. The company has the resources and expertise to deliver challenging projects across the globe, delivering the highest quality data.

For more information on Rovco please visit  For further information on BPEC visit

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