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British Design Fund
The British Design Fund (The “Fund”) supports enterprise and innovation in the UK by investing in, supporting and mentoring, early stage, well designed, product businesses. The Fund works with extraordinary entrepreneurs with scalable products who are ready to accelerate growth and build long term value and thriving stand-out businesses.
The Fund only works with British companies that have designed physical products to address a clear user need and which solve real problems.
Currently there are few funding mechanisms specifically dedicated to early stage product businesses. The British Design Fund believes that these early stage product businesses need not just capital but also mentoring and expertise along the way to ensure they grow into successful companies.
The British Design Fund seeks to work with extraordinary entrepreneurs, with innovative and scalable products, who are ready to accelerate growth and build long term value and thriving stand-out businesses.
Along with the cash investment, which is made in exchange for an equity stake in the business, the British Design Fund can also provide support and mentoring across key areas such as sales, marketing, international distribution, IP, legal, licensing and contracts, financial planning, stock control, design management and manufacturing.
The British Design Fund is managed by Sapphire Capital Partners LLP, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 565716. Twenty20 Mentoring provide the market expertise to identify and accelerate the growth of each investee company. Twenty20 Mentoring Limited is not a FCA authorised firm and will not be providing any investment services or undertaking any regulated activities in connection with the Fund.
Key team members
Damon is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience of building and running product design and manufacturing businesses. Damon knows how to bootstrap start-up product businesses and how to launch brands into global marketplaces.
Track Record; Launched 400+ products across consumer electronics, health and beauty and numerous private label for leading retail brands. Built a multi-million product design and manufacturing business which was acquired through a trade sale.
Former CEO of the Design Council with forty years’ experience in the brand and design industry, across retail, FMCG and consultancy. John knows what it takes for a brand to establish itself internationally and the challenges faced getting there.
Track Record; John has led numerous turn-rounds, growing a £15m t/o business at 20% YoY growth and increasing profits by 50%. John has also transformed the Design Council from being 90% reliant upon government grants down to 50%.
David has over 25 years ‘experience running Seven Towns, a multi-million toy and game business, and is the co-founder of Rubik’s Brand Limited. David knows how to scale a product business whether through licencing or the manufacturing and wholesaler model.
Track Record; David built Seven Towns to £8m t/o, sold a 15% stake in Rubik's Brand Ltd for $40m and also led a management buyout of Toybrokers & John Adams at a £3m valuation and built to a £30m t/o.
Example portfolio companies
Kokoon; Creators of the world's first intelligent headphone and app that adapts to your sleep patterns by measuring brain activity through EEG sensors to help you relax and switch off. Over 15,000 units shipped since 2018, generating £3m+ revenues. Aggressively growing multi-channel sales through direct online sales and partnerships with leading retailers. Nearly £700,000 in pre-orders pledged as at the end of November 2020 for NightBuds, the sleep sensing headphones product.
Calla; Elegant and stylish heels and shoes for women who suffer from bunions. Designed by a team of shoe designers, podiatrists and shoe fitters to create a range of beautiful shoes that fit and support your feet. 170% growth in sales in year 1 following investment. Over 30% of sales coming from repeat customers. 3x increase in valuation within 18 months following investment.
KTech; Manufacturers of mBox, a tool that makes wiring the connections to systems in your home, such as boilers, faster and safer via a simple method of securing electrical wires with clamps rather than screw terminals. Over 10,000 units sold in the 1st 12 months of launch and listings secured with 3 of the UK’s largest chains of hardware retailers.
NeXgen; Patented revolutionary drain valve which overcomes a number of flaws in the incumbent product on the market, namely removing the risk of rubber washer erosion which causes leaks and delays when draining a system. Exclusive distribution deal with a leading UK distributor of plumbing components, launching in Q4 2019.
Eiger Desks; Retro fitted desk accessory which converts a sitting desk into a standing one, encouraging both children in schools and adults in the workplace to stand more throughout the day, as opposed to sitting at their desks. Installed in over 160 schools in the UK, achieving sales growth of 163% in the first year following funding.
Lutra Marine; Patented dredging tools which tackle the challenge of dredging in environmentally sensitive or polluted areas, removing sediment without harming local protected areas or causing a drop in water quality. 1st product engineered in Q3 2019 and requests for demonstrations received from 14 harbours in the UK, ahead of launch in 2020.