How to enter the Start-Up Series

Launched by, in partnership with investment promoters Worth Capital, the Start-Up Series is the UK’s largest ever seed funding competition.

Every month, it gives one startup the chance to receive an equity investment of up to £250,000, at a fair valuation which is negotiated and agreed during the latter stages of the competition.

So you’re interested in entering, but don’t know where to start?

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to enter, along with some FAQs.


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

The online application form will not be live outside of the competition window. However, you can still register your interest when the competition is closed and we’ll send you a reminder when you next have the chance to enter.

Click here to enter The Start-Up Series

Am I eligible for the Start-Up Series?

The Start-Up Series is for early-stage & growth businesses.

You should be looking to receive funding from investors in exchange for equity in your business. In addition, Worth Capital will receive up to a 7% share option in your business (depending on its maturity).

Because the investment will come from an EIS & SEIS fund, businesses that are considering entering will need to satisfy the following criteria set by HMRC:

  • You must be a UK resident and run a UK-based business
  • You must be over 18 years old at the time of entry
  • Certain financial services and property businesses are unlikely to qualify

Other than that, it doesn’t matter where in the country you’re based, or what sector you operate in – The Start-Up Series is for you.

The process

Step one

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

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

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

Step two

If you’re successful after the first stage, you will be asked to provide more detailed information about you and the plans for your business, including financial information and marketing plans. You may also be invited for a telephone interview.

Step three

If you reach the final of the competition, you will be invited to a half-day face-to-face consultation with the Worth Capital team in London – a valuable chance to stress test your idea and plans and understand what value the Worth team can add.

Step four

If successful, you will be contacted privately as soon as the decision is made following the final consultations.

You’ll then enter into a period of due diligence with the Fund Manager. This process can take anywhere between four and eight weeks.

Step four

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.

Step five

Invest the money in your ambitious business plans!

What if I’m not successful?

There’s no limit to the number of times you can enter The Start-Up Series.

What’s more, you’ll receive extremely valuable feedback from Worth Capital about your business and your entry, regardless of how far you get in the competition.

You can use this to improve your pitch when seeking investment in the future, whether that’s through The Start-Up Series or elsewhere.

What are you waiting for? Enter today!

Remember – even if there’s not a competition currently running, you can register your interest now to be notified as soon as the next submission window is live.

Click here to enter The Start-Up Series


Who is 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 has over 80,000 fans on Twitter and Facebook combined.

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 35 seed investments between them.

Find out more about Worth Capital here.

Where will the funding come from?

The investment will come from an FCA-regulated fund, created specifically to back the winners of The Start-Up Series.

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 looks 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, Worth Capital may invest up to £250,000. This could be as the sole investor leading an investment round, or alongside other institutional investors.

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