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Business supportThree tech start-ups secure funding on Enterprise City’s Exchange programme

Three tech start-ups secure funding on Enterprise City’s Exchange programme

Solid Bond Venture Builder, the residential investment vehicle at Exchange within Enterprise City, has invested almost £500k in three of the programme’s first cohort of businesses.

The residential investment vehicle – part of the Solid Bond Capital Group – has made initial investments in three start-up tech businesses on the Exchange scheme, a digital and technology development programme for the UK’s next best start-ups, as it aims to accelerate their progress.

Solid Bond Venture Builder has invested £250,000 in PixelMax, a 3D events and conferencing software solution, £150,000 in Veo World, an online marketplace for connecting conscious consumers to sustainable brands, and £40,000 in Mapmate, an app for discovering new friends nearby and exploring your area.

Led by Shaz Sulaman, Solid Bond Venture Builder plans to fast-track the early-stage businesses to the next phase of their business journey. It will provide them with smart investment, giving the founders access to one-to-one mentorship from the venture builder business heads who have previously created and worked within some of the UK’s most successful start-ups.

Shaz Sulaman, co-founder of Solid Bond Venture Builder, said: “We’re thrilled to have invested in these three exciting start-ups, and hope to help them fulfil their full potential. The North is often overlooked when it comes to start-up talent, however it is a hotbed for aptitude and innovation. Enterprise City and its Exchange programme have amplified the tech and digital businesses in the area, and given them the opportunity to come together, collaborate and share notes.”

Shaz is an active business angel and has worked with technology businesses across the globe over the past 20 years. He successfully helped scale Phones4u from 80 to 400 stores, and has operated at board level in the retail finance and service sectors. Along with co-founder, Gordon Bateman, who has worked with over 700 investor-backed businesses, and manages the InvestorLadder network consisting of over 100 active investors from across the UK.

Gordon added: “It’s not just about the money – investment isn’t everything for new businesses, and insight into how to run the operational side of the business, as well as deliver outstanding work is invaluable. Start-up founders also need help anticipating the hurdles they will encounter in the first few years of business, and support in reaching the milestones needed in order to scale and raise further investment.

“We often see a number of common mistakes among new businesses, despite them having huge potential, which if corrected will result in them being wildly successful. The work and mentoring we provide will help PixelMax, Veo World and Mapmate excel in their respective industries on a national and global scale.”

Tanya Grady, head of partnerships at Enterprise City, said: “Having our own dedicated in-house investment vehicle is a huge bonus for the businesses on our programme. Not only do they have access to some fantastic strategic partners in Tech Nation, Microsoft Advertising and RMS, the businesses also have direct access to potential investment, and invaluable expertise from people that have held senior positions at companies that have achieved the things they dream of.

“Solid Bonded Venture Builder brings the expertise of Shaz, Gordon and their team to the doorstep of our start-up businesses at Exchange. I have no doubt that the insight and advice Solid Bond will add will boost the progress and potential of these businesses to become Britain’s next big tech, digital and media companies.”

The residential investment vehicle which all Exchange members have access to as part of the development scheme, is based in Bonded Warehouse in Enterprise City, Manchester.

What is Exchange?
The Exchange programme was created to support and empower the UK’s next best digital and tech start-ups. It provides access to the right tools, digital infrastructure, professional support and voices of experience can make the difference between success or failure in businesses’ critical early months, and Exchange aims to make that difference. By granting ambitious early-stage tech companies and entrepreneurs access to the tools and expertise they need to learn and develop, Exchange hopes to pave the future of tech and digital in the UK.

How will it be delivered?
The scheme is situated in Bonded Warehouse, part of Enterprise City. In order to qualify for the scheme, businesses must meet at least one of the following criteria: the business has been trading for 1 – 3 years, it is headquartered in the UK, it is a digital tech business with a product or service to sell, has at least one active client or pilot in progress, or has ambitions of growing and scaling. Successful applications will receive subsidised workspace at Bonded Warehouse throughout the length of the programme, and be supported through the wider Enterprise City district once they become alumni.

Enterprise City is set in the heart of Manchester, and developed by Allied London, an award-winning property development and investment company, Exchange intends to create a collaborative community of like-minded, forward-thinking entrepreneurs and global organisations.

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