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This Bristol-focused impact fund just deployed £1M to back early-stage startups with a purpose

BBRC team
Picture credits: BBRC

Bristol-based Local impact investor BBRC (Bristol & Bath Regional Capital) has deployed £1 million of new investment focused on seeding early-stage impact business ecosystem in the region. 

The £1 million fund is part of the larger £10 million City Funds investment fund, launched in 2019 in the UK. It brings together investment, grant and local authority support in a unique collaboration between BBRC, Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol City Council. 

City Funds provides investment to support and strengthen local organisations solving some of the biggest problems facing Bristol, such as housing scarcity, energy efficiency and community wellbeing. The £1 million fund will be allocated for earlier-stage impact ventures that can often find it challenging to secure investment. The rest of the fund is for more established businesses looking for growth lending.

Jari Moate, Investment Director, BBRC, said: “City Funds is one of the first of its kind in the UK that brings together investment, grant funding and local authority support in a coordinated, place-based approach to tackle key local issues and inequalities. The venture ecosystem in Bristol is building the future of the city now, and we want impact to be a central part of that. That’s why we have chosen to deploy £1m into early-stage ventures who are developing and leading solutions to solve some of the biggest social and environmental problems faced in Bristol. We will continue to work with them to keep Bristol-based impact front and centre as they grow.”

Nick Sturge, chair of techSPARK, which works with tech and digital businesses across the city from startups to global corporations, said: “Enabling and supporting the development of technology products and businesses that have a positive impact on society is critical and funding of these businesses has historically been difficult. As a not-for-profit, techSPARK understands some of this pain and is keen to support mission-led and impactful businesses as best we can. We’re delighted that BBRC has been so active in this space and we’ll do whatever we can to support this going forward.”

Notable investments of City Funds 

Already, City Funds’ venture portfolio has successfully deployed investment into a range of local purpose-driven ventures including. The notable investments include:  

  • Albion Technologies: It raised £400k from City Funds to establish a manufacturing facility in Bristol that will create 90 green jobs over five years. The company creates battery energy storage systems that improve the efficiency and stability of energy generation from renewable power. 
  • Yuup: With a £200k investment, Yuup grew its presence in Bristol. It has successfully grown its service to 60k experiences sold annually. 
  • AutonoMe: The AutonoMe app offers personalised videos to people experiencing homelessness, care leavers, people with disabilities, and others with disabilities with an early investment. AutonoMe raised £150k in 2022 to expand its workplace support business. 
  • Service Robotics: With £250k investment, the healthtech firm uses local knowledge and specialised remote technology to tackle the care crisis and loneliness through coordinating health services for older people. 
  • Yumello: With £250k, migrant-led Moroccan food business expanded its Bristol HQ and grown national sales, creating new jobs and providing foodbanks with nut butter.
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