As Birmingham Tech Week (BTW) approaches, we at BGF are thrilled to be a part of this dynamic event, where innovation, entrepreneurship, and limitless possibilities in the tech landscape take centre stage.
We’re not only proud to sponsor the overall week itself, but in particular we’re excited to be hosting the Scale-up Summit (19th October) – reflecting our commitment to supporting the ambitions of fast-growing tech businesses in Birmingham and across the West Midlands.
A clear mission
BGF was established in 2011 with a clear mission: to bridge the funding gap for small and mid-sized firms, nurturing visionaries and innovators across the UK and Ireland. Over the years, we have steadfastly supported these entrepreneurs, helping them drive growth and building a sustainable future.
Our commitment has led us to invest more than £3.5 billion in over 550 companies since our inception, making us one of the UK & Ireland’s largest and most experienced investors.
Yet, what really sets us apart is our “hyper-local” approach. With 15 offices spanning across the UK and Ireland, including a Birmingham and Nottingham offices In the Midlands from which we have invested over £600 million in 33 Midlands-based businesses and counting. A significant portion of this capital has gone into supporting some of the region’s most exciting technology businesses.
This localised approach means we can provide local tech businesses with access to a powerful investment ecosystem, facilitating sustainable growth through our relationships, collaborative culture, and proven experience.
Exciting opportunities for Birmingham tech sector
Birmingham and the broader West Midlands region have rapidly emerged as one of the UK’s fastest-growing tech and digital economies outside London.
In fact, Birmingham jumped from fourth to second place in CBRE’s 2022 UK Tech Cities list, reflecting the incredible growth of tech companies in the area. This is exemplified by the fact that the West Midlands saw a remarkable 25% increase in tech incorporations between 2021 and 2022.
One standout feature of the Birmingham tech scene is its ability to capitalise on its industrial heritage, particularly in the automotive sector. The region has witnessed exceptional tech innovation, from advancements in battery technology to the development of electric vehicles. Moreover, the region has taken a global lead in specific tech verticals, such as Leamington Spa’s dominance in the gaming industry. This transformation is a testament to the rich talent pool and deep industry experience that defines the West Midlands.
The heritage and culture of continuous progression is further bolstered by an enviable location and infrastructure, supporting both domestic and international growth. Adding to that, world-class universities at the forefront of innovation continuously attract talent, fostering an environment ripe for opportunity. It all adds up to the perfect combination for fostering an innovative and fast-growing tech scene.
Where BGF fits in
Within this hothouse of growth and potential, what exact role does BGF play in supporting the regional tech economy? And, more pertinently to most readers, why should ambitious Birmingham tech businesses consider BGF as a partner for supporting their scale-up dreams?
Firstly, our investment model is unique. We offer patient minority-only capital, enabling ambitious growth companies to reach their full potential. We’re a truly long-term flexible partner, with the ability to adapt to variable time horizons and structures, provide follow-on funding, and confidently invest through economic cycles.
But we are not here simply to inject capital – we’re about much more than just providing financial backing. Our unrivalled Talent Network, one of many examples, offers portfolio companies access to a vast pool of business leaders and board-level non-executives in the UK and Ireland. This means access to expert advice on navigating economic challenges, seizing opportunities and overcoming hurdles.
Of course, it’s in our DNA to operate at a national scale while maintaining a local touch. This targeted regional strategy ensures that our diverse and entrepreneurial investment team builds strong relationships and trust within local business communities, creating an unparalleled network of support.
Lastly, we understand tech. We’ve supported ambitious businesses across various tech domains, including mobile app development, managed services, cloud computing, and much more. Our experience in the sector runs deep.
Supporting scale-ups though difficult economic times
We recognise that the current business landscape is fraught with unprecedented challenges. And we know that some companies will undoubtedly struggle in these times, making our role of funding promising businesses with limited access to capital all the more critical.
Indeed, we see numerous dynamic tech businesses across the West Midlands poised to seize opportunities and navigate challenges with measured precision, if only they gain access to the right support at the right time.
BGF’s investment model positions us uniquely to invest throughout economic cycles, forming lasting partnerships with companies. We provide the funding, experience, and expertise needed to help businesses overcome challenges and achieve their ambitions.
In addition, our regional presence ensures we have the local knowledge, relationships, and experience right here in the West Midlands to continue supporting promising companies with robust business models and compelling growth prospects.
Click Travel: helping a tech firm soar
Birmingham-based Click Travel, which manages millions of travel bookings each year for businesses ranging from the FTSE 100 to the third sector, provides a fantastic example of how we work with the businesses we invest in.
What started as a hotel booking agency in 1999 evolved into an online booking platform handling all aspects of business travel, from flights and trains to hotels and meetings. A significant turning point for the company came in 2007 when Click Travel launched its online platform, resulting in year-on-year turnover doubling.
BGF entered the picture in 2018 with a multi-million-pound investment, aligning with Click Travel’s focus on technology. This partnership enabled Click Travel to complete a fundamental tech architecture rewrite and launch a new SaaS model, creating an entirely new revenue stream for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Our support extended beyond financial investment. For example, we provided access to resources and know-how, connecting Click Travel with app developers and helping them find a finance director to enhance their finance function.
Making your potential a reality
As we gear up for BTW, we’re inviting ambitious tech businesses in the region to explore the possibilities that partnering with BGF can offer. Our track record, unique investment model, local approach, and deep understanding of the tech landscape make us the ideal partner for your journey from start-up to scale-up.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover how BGF can help you achieve your ambitions. Contact us today and let’s shape the future of tech in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
– Guest Blog authored by Aaron Baker, Investor at BGF