‘Business Angels’ group completes third investment in £615k deal

PopTop founders Eugene Shestopal, left, Ignat Tkhorovskiy

Dow Schofield Watts Angels, the new Northern angel network, has completed its third deal by leading a £615,000 investment in the online events marketplace PopTopUK Limited.

The deal also included funding from Northstar Ventures.

More than 30 angel investors took part in the funding round.

They include Liverpool-based Rod Bulmer, the former acting chief executive of the Co-operative Bank Group, who has made a significant personal investment and will become the company’s non-executive chairman.

PopTop, which is based in Newcastle, is the only real-time transactional booking platform for the UK events sector.

It provides an online marketplace which matches people planning events with suppliers such as caterers, entertainers and photographers.

The business has a particular focus on weddings, celebrations and corporate events.

The company is led by Eugene Shestopal and Ignat Tkhorovskiy, who started it in Kiev in 2014 and relocated to Newcastle the year after with the support of Northstar Ventures.

PopTop is already in profit.

The funding will be invested in sales and marketing to support the imminent launch of PopTop’s real-time booking system.

Rod Bulmer has a strong track record as a marketing executive in the consumer and financial services sectors, and was one of the key players in the turnaround of the Co-operative Group.

He said: “Digital marketplace businesses are redefining the consumer model and consumer expectations for the better in many different areas.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the PopTop team as they redefine the events sector in the UK and beyond.”

Dow Schofield Watts Angels now has more than 70 investors and has received applications from well over 350 tech firms since it was launched in Summer 2017.

David Smith, who heads the network, said: “Events was one of the few sectors which did not have an effective digital marketplace.

“PopTop has filled that gap and now has its sights firmly set on market dominance.”

He added: “PopTop is the third investment which DSW has completed in the last nine months. DSW Angels has already become a meaningful funding partner for Northern tech businesses, and we will continue to scale up this operation.”

Rod Bulmer

The deal was introduced to Dow Schofield Angels by Will Schaffer at NorthInvest.

The investors were advised by the corporate team at Weightmans LLP in Manchester, led by Sarah Walton, and by the corporate team at Watson Burton LLP in Newcastle led by Nick Gray.

Dow Schofield Watts is an independent advisory business which, for more than a decade, has delivered a partner-led corporate finance service across diverse industries.

Established in 2002, the firm has a talented team of more than 50 professionals based in offices in Manchester, Leeds and London.

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