Seeking investment? The funding is out there…

The funding is out there for fast-growing Midlands business – that was the message from the panel at the Funding and investing in the Midlands’ fast-growth companies session at Invest Midlands.

Ardian Mula, CEO of Stoke-based food delivery app company said that the last two years had been “unexpected” and has thrown up “lots of challenges”, but his company had come through it.

He said: “At one point I did wonder whether we were going to have a business left, but the pandemic worked in our favour. We used used opportunity to acquire a buisness in Australia at beginning of the pandemic and our growth has been dramatic – from having 15,000 business on board two years ago now having 30,000.”

Mula spoke about how his company had raised £100m to fuel acquisitions, calling this approach “a road map towards growth.”

Ben Dorks, the CEO of listed software developer Ideagen added: “We’ve used the cash raised for organic growth and acquisitions. We now have over 1,000 staff across the world.

“I’m a great bliever in that funding will come if you create a business strategy that offers value. Funders generally want a risk-free approach, and as long as you’re realistic and pragmatic there is always good available funding.

“Our business in better shape at end of pandemic than at the beginning; the team have done an amazing job.2

Sophie Dale Black, director within the British Business Bank’s UK Network, said that equity investment in Midlands has grown during past 12 months – espeically in East Midlands – up 75%, although from a lower benchmark.

She added: “Research shows the appetite is there for using external finance, but there is still much to do to show the great work that external investment can do. The number of investors coming into the Midlands is also encouraging.

“What I find particularly fascinating is that manufacturing remains such a popular industry for investors, despite the challenges that sector is facing.”

Paul Faulkner, chief of staff at RCL Associates, was optimistic. He said: “There is so much opportunity out there. Being a family-led business we have our own USP, being family-led, and that makes us more flexible, more patient – a different approach. We feel a business’s challenges and bring that passion to bear.

“The challenge for business seeking investment is that it’s a global market and race. I’m a passionate champion of the West Midlands, but we’re looking at opportunities all over the world.”

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