Six West Midlands businesses are to go head-to-head in a battle to win funding worth up to #5 million.
Aldridge Piling Equipment from Cannock, Tamworth-based Redweb Security, The Internet Games Database (IGDB) in Stourbridge and Coventry-based firms Global Bio Tech, Opscape and PPL Party are finalists in the Connect Midlands Investment Challenge.
The Challenge offers up to #5 million in equity funding for high-growth and technology businesses.
RedWeb Security is the world's first intelligent forensic trace alarm system. It researches, develops and delivers DNA-based technology solutions which address the problem of business and personal crime.
Aldridge Piling Equipment specialises in piling equipment and plastic piling with a range of impact hammers and vibrators.
The IGDB claims to be the internet's first professionally-researched online video-gaming database with support from all major publishers and developers.
Opscape provides a visual overview of Key Performance Indicators, replacing spreadsheets and reports. PPL Party is an online social network, whilst Global Bio Tec is a high technology company creating biometric access control applications.
The firms reached the final by entering the Challenge online and completing the online assessment tool, ‘The Gauntlet’, developed by Doug Richard, formerly of Dragon’s Den. Acting like a virtual investor, The Gauntlet seeks the crucial information that investors need and ensures that the business is investment ready.
They were named in a shortlist of just 20 businesses in August and have since delivered a "pitch" to a panel of real investors to ascertain its suitability for potential equity funding through the Challenge.
Thirteen finalists from across the Midlands will learn their funding fate when the winners are revealed on October 10 at Kilworth House Hotel, Leicestershire. If successful, they will then be given the opportunity to enter into private negotiations with the Challenge backers.
Ian Binks, BT's regional director for the West Midlands said: "Having started the process way back in April, we have seen a huge variety of exciting businesses come to our attention. The great diversity of the applicants and the consistent quality of them is a very positive sign for the region as a whole."
Now in its second year, the #5 Million Investment Challenge is operated by Connect Midlands, the not-for-profit network for investors, high growth and technology businesses in the region. In its inaugural year, up to #1 million of equity funding was available to the region’s businesses, but due to its success the pot was increased to #5 million for this year’s Challenge.
Isabell Majewsky, director of Connect Midlands said: "The standard of applicants in this year’s Challenge is phenomenal. It was hard enough trying to get down to a shortlist of 20 from the hundreds of applications we received so you can imagine the difficulty we had in selecting the finalists. I look forward to the awards evening on October 10 with great anticipation."
The challenge is sponsored by BT Business and is backed by Catapult Venture Managers , Midven, the Mercia Technology Seed Fund, Advantage Business Angels and supported by Advantage West Midlands.
Rob Carroll, managing director of Catapult Venture Managers said: "Last year we had some very strong candidates, many of whom went on to receive equity funding as a result.
"This year the field is again strong. There are some companies that have learnt from last year’s valuable feedback from the panel and re-entered with stronger proposals and a host of companies that we had not been aware of until now. The Connect Midlands Investment Challenge really does help to unearth some of the hidden gems within the region and plays a vital role within the economy."