Worth Capital

Worth Capital


The Start-Up Series Fund is an evergreen offer which invests in the winners of the Start-Up Series, a monthly competition run by Worth Capital and promoted by smallbusiness.co.uk. The Fund invests in B2C or B2B companies with innovative products or services that can create new consumer behaviours, in growth markets, with teams that demonstrate compelling marketing & communication skills and with a clear route to exit.

For every investment that the Start-Up Series Fund makes one of the founding partners of Worth Capital - Paul or Matthew - take a position on the board. This provides oversight and protection for investors and uses their experience and battle scars to anticipate and manage risks. 

An investor can elect to invest in SEIS, EIS or both types of qualifying businesses. In either case, investors will normally hold a ‘mini-portfolio’ of 3 to 4 investments to diversify risk. The Fund is structured as an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) and plans to conduct serial closes throughout each tax year. There will therefore be several different tranches of investments and the type and degree of diversification will depend on which tranche(s) an investor is invested.

"Matthew’s experience, insight, and point of view has been a massive value add, and he’s had a huge impact directly on how we’ve shaped our brand, product, and business model, which has helped fuel our rapid growth."

Joanna James, Bedfolk Ltd (investee company)

Key team members

Matthew Cushen - Founding Partner

During my career I’ve been fortunate to work with, learn from and help the leadership teams of some of the largest businesses in the world. I grew up in retail – including senior roles in Kingfisher and John Lewis Department Stores. Most recently I’ve been a Director of ?What If!, the global innovation consultancy, helping the leadership teams of some of the most recognisable companies across the globe including IKEA, Waitrose, AB Inbev and Tesco.

Insight gained from helping the worlds largest businesses has led to my belief that the commercial tide has shifted and it is start-ups that have the most potential to challenge the normal rules of business, create new consumer behaviours and to create brands that are truly loved.

My empathy with the world of entrepreneurs comes from establishing, and then selling, a retail business and from making several angel investments. I’ve had one very profitable large exit and am sitting on investments in a dozen growing businesses.

Paul Soanes - Founding Partner

To be successful, an entrepreneur doesn’t always need a great idea, but they will always need a great (and detailed) plan. Success will mostly come from two things. Firstly, the relentless discipline of reviewing and measuring progress against the plan. Secondly, employing a team who can deliver the many small actions to fulfil the bigger plan. Stirring in the other magic ingredients of natural flair, creativity and passion, and the entrepreneur will likely taste success.

I’ve always enjoyed taking pretty big calculated risks, so co-founding iD (a leading experiential marketing agency) straight out of university felt like a natural thing to do. Over the last twenty years, the success of iD has enabled me to have many other adventures in business. These have included creating a disruptive media business called Brandspace, which we built from scratch and sold to private equity in the space of just 5 years. I am also an active startup investor and have backed over 30 businesses across the media, medical and FMCG sectors

Hayley Etherington - Business Operations Director

Over the last 15 years my career has allowed me to work in various operational management & relationship development roles for numerous international brands & media partners.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Worth Capital founders for over 13 years and was asked to join the business in 2014 to develop the Facebook relationship, which led to the successful delivery of the Big App Fund. I am now responsible for the strategic delivery of the Start-Up Series competition, a process which unearths some of the most prosperous new start-ups in the UK.

It’s a delight to work with such talented entrepreneurs who become the lifeblood of our business after winning investment via our competitions. I look forward to working with many more over the coming years with anticipation and excitement.

Investment opportunities

Worth Capital

We are working to make investments from this manager available on our platform.

Investment opportunities are added daily, please check back soon.

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Example portfolio companies

Our investee companies are all winners of The Start-Up Series - the UK's largest seed funding competition. 

The core aim of the Start-Up Series is to find and grow 'product, service & sales channel innovation, in underserved and/or growth markets, creating habitual consumption (B2C or B2B) and so a loved brand'.

Here are some of our past winners...


EISA Diversity Champion 2020

Investments offered

  • EIS
  • SEIS