What is The Start-Up Series?

The Start-up Series is the UK’s largest ever seed funding competition and gives start-up businesses across the country the chance to receive equity funding.

Launched by Startups.co.uk in partnership with investment promoters Worth Capital, The Start-Up Series is a series of monthly competitions.

Every month, the competition aims to select a business to receive equity seed funding, at a fair valuation, negotiated and agreed during the latter stages of the competition.

Who is Startups.co.uk?

Startups.co.uk is the UK’s leading independent, online resource for anyone wanting to start or grow a business.

Established in 2000, it is the longest serving, largest and most comprehensive advice platform covering everything you need to know to start, buy, run or sell a business.

The site receives over 450,000 monthly unique users and combined has over 80,000 fans on Twitter and Facebook.

Who is Worth Capital?

Worth Capital has a proven track record in helping new entrepreneurs obtain funds and expertise to help turn their ideas into successful, sustainable businesses.

Worth Capital founders Paul Soanes and Matthew Cushen are brand, retail & innovation experts as well as experienced angel investors with over 30 seed investments between them.

Where will the funding come from?

The investment will come from an FCA-regulated fund, raised specifically to back the winners of the series of competitions.

How much funding is available?

The amount of funding and the amount of equity in return is agreed with the winners as part of the process.

Typically, Worth Capital look to invest most of the £150,000 funding allowed for SEIS qualifying businesses – and then make follow on investments from the fund as the business grows.
For more mature EIS qualifying businesses they may invest up to £250,000, either as the sole investor, leading an investment round or alongside other institutional investors.

How do I apply for the The Start-Up Series?

You can register your interest on The Start-Up Series website and then when the competition window is open, you will be contacted by email and provided with a link to the online competition application form.

The initial application is very simple and quick, just a few details and a two-minute video or two-page document. If you are successful in getting to the next rounds, you’ll be asked for progressively more information.

When can I apply for The Start-Up Series?

Entries for each month’s competition will open on the 1st of the month and close on the 14th of the month.

Is my business eligible for funding?

The Start-Up Series is for early-stage businesses: business to consumer, and business to business.

Because the fund will be for SEIS investments the business needs to satisfy criteria set by HMRC:

  • Your business must be UK-based and you must be a UK resident
  • You must be over 18 years old at the time of entry
  • Full criteria for EIS are here
  • Full criteria for SEIS are here

Will I be required to give away equity in my business?

Yes, as the competition is for investment, you will be required to give away equity in exchange for investment. In addition, Worth Capital will receive up to a 7% share option (depending on the maturity) in the funded business.

Can I apply for The Start-Up Series competition more than once?

Yes, you can enter the competition each month.

Can I apply for The Start-Up Series if I run a property or finance start-up?

Financial services and property-related businesses are unlikely to qualify for SEIS funding so it’s unlikely that your business would be eligible.

Who selects the winner each month?

The winner is chosen by Worth Capital. Final funding with be dependent on some technical due diligence undertaken by the Fund Manager.

How do I find out if I’m a winner?

You will be contacted privately with the good news as soon as the decision is made after the final consultations.

If I win, when can I expect to receive investment?

Once a business is informed that it is the winner, it will enter into a period of due diligence with the Fund Manager.

This process can take anywhere between four to eight weeks. Once the Fund Manager is satisfied with the outcome of due diligence, investment will be made from an open tranche of the Start-Up Series Fund. Tranches of investment are generally made every three or four months.

Can I apply for The Start-Up Series if my business is based outside of the UK?

No, your company must be UK-registered to be eligible for the competition. You must also be a UK resident.

Is applying for The Start-Up Series a good idea?

Yes! Worth Capital has a proven track record in helping new entrepreneurs obtain funds and expertise to help turn their ideas into successful, sustainable businesses.

What is EIS & SEIS and how do they work?

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) are designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies. Click here to find out more about the scheme.

Can’t find your answer?

Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Contact us at hello@startups.co.uk.

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