Octopus Investments, self-described as the largest provider of Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) in the UK, has seen attendance of over 200 financial advisers and investors at its Octopus 2016 event, where they could hear from companies that Octopus has backed through its VCTs and see the benefits of VCT investments, ahead of the 2015-16 tax year end.
This year’s event featured presentations by Brian Harrison, chief executive and co-founder of Swoon Editions, an online retailer of furniture and by Ben Grech, chief executive and co-founder of Uniplaces, a website building a global and trusted brand for student accommodation. James Davidson, chief executive and co-founder of Tails, a service offering tailor-made food for pets; and Rafe Offer, a co-chief executive and co-founder of Sofar Sounds, an online community which hosts intimate concerts and gigs in cities all over the world, also presented.
In addition to the four entrepreneur presentations, Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, gave a presentation on VCTs and tax planning, including an overview of the recent legislation changes affecting VCT qualifying rules.
Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, says: “The calibre of attendees at this year’s event demonstrates the continued strong demand for VCTs from the investor and adviser communities as we head into 2016. VCTs play a crucial role in helping early stage companies realise their potential, and this event gives investors an opportunity to meet some of the companies they are supporting through their investment.
“The entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UK is thriving, with the four entrepreneurs who presented at the event representing successful early-stage companies who have directly benefitted from one of our own VCTs. Octopus has a strong pipeline of future potential investment opportunities, as we continue to look to back talented teams that can build the big global businesses of tomorrow.”
James Davidson, chief executive and co-founder of Tails, says: “VCT funding has played a critical role in being able to finance our business and get it off the ground. The tax advantage it brings investors really helped us to raise sufficient capital for our business model, and now the orders we place with UK suppliers, and the jobs we have created, are helping reinvest that funding back into the UK.”
Brian Harrison, chief executive and co-founder of Swoon Editions, says: “Ultimately it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility to deliver growth and a viable long-term business of which we can all be proud. But what is clear is that this would not happen as often, or as quickly, without external investment.”