A leading provider of funding support for tech start-ups has announced the launch of its first in-person accelerator in the West Midlands. FundingHero will take 20 of the region’s most ambitious founders and provide the support they need to scale-up and raise their external funding for their Seed to Series A rounds, with the goal of creating the next generation of ‘unicorns’.

Based around a 12-week programme, which starts on 30 March, FundingHero uses the tried-and-tested methods of its founder Jim Shirley – an experienced scale-up CFO with a proven track record of raising millions in debt and equity – to help founders replicate his success and beat the odds. 

Alongside Jim is a regional access to finance expert, Vernon Hogg. Vernon has vast experience supporting the West Midlands founder community to secure millions in regional funding: most recently, supporting over 100 founders through the Founders collective, a programme delivered as part of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP). 

Jim and Vernon will be accompanied by a panel of scale-up experts, who will take participants through a guided process, providing them with a deeper understanding of the funding types for their three-to-five-year roadmap, and arming them with the tools and knowledge of exactly how to secure their funding whilst maintaining their growth rates – the biggest battle of any scale-up. The first of these to be announced include: Tom Field, from crowdfunding platform, Seedrs; Jamie Partington, Head of Tech and High Growth at law firm, Higgs LLP; Dan Corcoran, CEO of Reedmace talent the scale-up talent specialists and Tracy Sherratt, Senior Manager for the West Midlands at British Business Bank.

With statistics showing that only 1% of UK start-ups successfully raise their early-stage investment, the FundingHero accelerator has been specifically designed to help founders secure the funding they need to scale-up and keep momentum. This is more important than ever given the current economic climate and difficulty in early-stage businesses securing growth funding. Jim comments:

With Birmingham acting as the home of the tech start-up – boasting 1,200 start-ups, and counting, and three unicorns amongst them – there really is no doubt that it is fertile ground for growing the next generation of industry giants.

“However, without the right type of support, investment, and infrastructure, the success-rate for those making the jump from start-up to scale-up will be nowhere near as high as it should be. That isn’t just a loss for individual founders: it is truly a loss for the entire region.”

“With the recent exciting announcement of Martin Ward as the new West Midlands Tech Commissioner and the high priority focus of inward investment for the region from the Mayor Andy Street, now is an incredibly exciting time to support all of these efforts to drive real impact to support the region’s economic growth goals”

The accelerator will be based at iCentrum, the digital innovation centre based in the heart of Birmingham’s Knowledge Quarter. The investment readiness program will cover everything from creating a winning scale-up fundraising strategy, targeting the relevant funding types; creating quality investment materials to get noticed; but, most importantly, providing CFO-level strategy to focus founders and ensure they are planning ahead to their next raise.

Jim believes that the scheme is the perfect way for founders to get investment-ready for high growth and take their businesses to the next level. Jim will use his extensive knowledge from helping award-winning high-growth businesses achieve high-multiple exits for millions of pounds to overseas billion-dollar organisations.

“I wholeheartedly believe in the potential of the West Midlands start-up scene, but knowledge and understanding around accessing that key second and third round of growth investment is desperately needed. The FundingHero fundraising accelerator looks to fill a huge gap: currently, once founders have worked the local support circuit in the region to find their first funding round, they have nowhere else to go. This means, despite the early traction they’ve gained, they are stuck without access to funding to start to really grow.” he adds.

FundingHero is accepting applications for its first cohort, but spaces are limited. The programme is open to all sectors and businesses that have a product in the market and are consistently revenue-generating, with a fundraising goal stage of Seed to Series A. The ambition is to welcome three cohorts this year.

Founders interested in applying can visit to submit their application.

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