About The Start-Up Series

About The Start-Up Series The Start-Up Series is the UK’s largest seed funding competition. Launched in 2016 by Worth Capital, he competition searches for the brightest entrepreneurs with smart, high growth propositions. Impressing the judges ends with real cash investment.

The Series opens for applications every month, with the aim to select one or two winners to receive::

• Up to £250,000 of SEIS/EIS equity funding (subject to due-diligence, terms & conditions).

• A minimum of 2 years invaluable hands-on help from experienced & battle scarred entrepreneurs

• Media coverage on smallbusiness.co.uk & other channels to promote your business & follow your journey.

We are on the hunt for B2B or B2C business across all sectors. As long as your business is eligible for SEIS or EIS HMRC advance assurance, then we’ll consider your application.

We’ll be impressed by innovative products or services, in high growth or underserved markets, with the potential to build a loved brand. If you can demonstrate these, you’re in with a fighting chance, For a point of view about what venture capital investors look for take a look at this article [link to MC column].

So far, the competition has invested over £4.2m into 20 young UK businesses. We’re proud of the diverse spread of businesses that this funding has reached. Typically, only 9% of early stage funding goes to businesses with a female founder & only 35% is invested into businesses outside of the London & South East ‘bubble’. However, The Start-Up Series has bucked these numbers, with 40% of our winners having a female founder and 60% of the funding heading outside London. Whilst the are no benchmarks published on how much of the UK’s funding goes to businesses with a BAME founder, we expect The Start-Up Series, at 19%, is better represented.

Because the investment will come from an EIS & SEIS fund, businesses who are considering entering 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.

Find out how to enter the Start-Up Series here, and set off on your quest to win up to £250,000 of equity investment* for your business — as well as invaluable advice and support. *subject to due-dilligence, terms & conditions.

About Worth Capital


Worth Capital was formed by entrepreneurs with experience in starting, growing and selling small businesses.

Along with securing investment, Worth Capital helps new entrepreneurs accelerate their growth. Founders, Paul Soanes and Matthew Cushen are experienced entrepreneurs, innovators, and marketers and, along with investing themselves, have a track record of rolling their sleeves up to help.

Worth Capital’s partner, Amersham Investment Management, is the fund manager for the Start-Up Series Fund, which invests in the winning businesses. The fund is eligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) investments and is fully compliant with the rules that financial services firms have to abide by.

The Worth Capital team

Among other ventures, Paul Soanes tarted experiential agency iD in 1994 with just £2,000. It has since billed £100m-plus, with the likes of Unilever and Britvic on its client list. Promotional space media owner Brandspace – another of his agencies – operated from 1,000-plus venues such as airports and railway stations and was sold to Octopus Ventures in 2008.

Matthew Cushen is a successful investor, his first investment delivered 8 x his initial stake in four years. He’s a retailer by trade, having worked with Virgin Retail and the John Lewis Partnership. He subsequently became an innovation consultant, and still advises major global businesses, including IKEA, AB InBev and Waitrose. Each month, Matthew shares his thoughts on raising funding – and other valuable advice for entrepreneurs growing their businesses – in his blog posts.

Hayley Etherington spent eight years at a leading marketing agency, working for global brands such as Nespresso, L’Oreal and Philip Morris, as well as helping start-ups to gain traction in cluttered markets. Her wealth of experience brings a diverse set of skills, also adding great value to the various start-ups Worth Capital invests in.

Why should you enter the Start-Up Series?

This is unique support for the best of UK startups. There are a number of reasons why you should apply for The Start-Up Series:

• Unrivalled opportunity – up to £250,000 of equity seed funding (subject to due-diligence, terms & conditions), with each monthly competition resulting in a winner

• Support – Each winner will receive support from Worth Capital via an experienced investment director

• Media coverage – Winning a high profile competition and the exposure that generates is valuable when talking to customers, potential employees, and future investors

But don’t just take our word for it. Read past winner’s stories to find out how winning The Start-Up Series helped their businesses thrive.