East Anglia’s own Dragons’ Den invests more than £2m in two years

Anglia Capital Group. Left to right, Marcus Armes, Andrea Finegan, Robert Alston, Hannah Smith, Pete

Anglia Capital Group. Left to right, Marcus Armes, Andrea Finegan, Robert Alston, Hannah Smith, Peter Briggs. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A team of angel investors have injected more than £2m into innovative businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk just two years after making its first investment.

Anglia Capital Group (ACG), based on Norwich Research Park, was formed in 2014 and made its first investment the following year. It has since invested in 16 companies, with many of those in the medical, agri-tech and clean energy sectors.

The group, which has been compared to investors on television show Dragons' Den, was set up to link investors with pioneering high-growth small and medium businesses.

Among the recipients of funds are Future50 firms Enlight, Rainbird, Extremis Technologies and Ablatus Therapeutics.

ACG business manager Hannah Smith said: 'More has been invested this year than in previous years. There has been £600,000 from the angel investors alone this year, up from £300,000 to £350,000 in previous years.

'I think it is down to the quality of innovation in the region: it has been a lot easier to invest in Norfolk and Suffolk.'

While ACG has a focus on Norfolk and Suffolk firms, it can also invest outside the area.

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Some of the most recent investments have included Thurston-based agri-tech firm PBD Biotech, which has created a test for tuberculosis in livestock, and education technology business Developing Experts, based in Norwich, is one of the most recent recipients after receiving £200,000.

Norwich Research Park-based med-tech firm Iceni Diagnostics is also set to receive funding in the coming weeks.

Hethel-based cleantech company MSF Technologies, which develops energy generation and storage systems, has used its funding to bolster its team by 60 as it targets the next stage of growth.

ACG is supported by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's New Anglia Capital fund, which co-invests alongside business angels. LEP chief executive Chris Starkie said: 'Early stage business investment has a significant role to play in our ambition to grow the economy of the East.

'These businesses are often at the leading edge of their industry, providing an environment of innovation and high productivity jobs for our two counties.'