We tried to answer all of them and hopefully you will find responses you need in the list below.
1. How long does it take for a start-up to hear back from SFC?
On average 2 weeks, though it can take longer depending on the complexity of the start-up and our workload in a given period of time.
2. Do we need to write a business plan?
Not at this stage, you need to know your business, but what we want to see is your application form, pitch deck and yourself.
3. Do you invest only in specific industries?
No, SFC is an industry agnostic fund, though there are some specialist funds like our Fintech fund.
4. We are based out of the UK, can we still apply?
No, SFC only invests in British based start-ups.
5. Does SFC invest in the idea stage of a company?
We usually don’t invest in idea stage (we recommend startup loans or incubators), but it might happen that particularly good ideas with strong teams and plans get our attention and support.
6. What are the application requirements?
We need you to respond to the application form questions and provide your pitch deck.
7. What are the costs involved with using SFC?
We charge success fees that depend on the type of investment we source. On average we charge 6-10% of the raised funds. The companies pay also fees on additional services if they need them (e.g. drafting investment documents).
8. Does SFC take equity in start-ups?
SFC and SFC SEIS Fund are two separate entities, SFC SEIS Fund acts as investors and takes equity, SFC acts as an introducer and might take equity in case it’s involvement is extended.
9. When does SFC invest in their companies?
We can source angel investment anytime in the year, but fund investment is seasonal and usually we are in the investment phase in Q1 and Q3.
10. Are we guaranteed funding if the start-up uses the angel network?
No, there is no guarantee of funding from the Angel network, that’s why we work on a non-exclusive success fee.
11. What is the minimum and maximum SFC will invest into a start-up?
Normally the minimum that the SFC fund will invest is £25 000, though with the Angel network the minimum amount can vary and be as little as £5000 and as much as £150k-£300k.
12. What does SFC look for in a start-up applying for funding?
We are looking for business that operate in growing markets and have good teams behind with skills and experience necessary to succeed.
13. Is SFC affiliated with any other groups?
We work with a range of businesses, such as SFC Bennett Brooks (accounting business) and SFC Digital (which is a digital marketing business), Accelerator Academy and many more. We have a wide network of business partners.
14. How much input does SFC have in the start-up? Do you take a seat on the BOD?
We support startups in their growth by providing access to low cost, quality services; we make introductions and provide mentoring. If we invest from the SFC SEIS Fund then we expect also a seat on the board.
15. Does SFC offer mentorship services?
No. We mentor only startups that SFC SEIS Fund invested in, but we can recommend our Partners.
16. How does getting investment from SFCs’ angel network work?
Firstly you will go through the normal screening process that will be followed by a meeting and due diligence, after which our team will decide whether your start-up needs the help of a business angel (who may work more closely with you) or our fund.
17. Can our start-up just pitch to the angel network and not the fund?
You can express your preference, but the screening process is the same for both types of investment.
18. Will SFC sign a non-disclosure agreement/NDA?
No. The fact that we are in this industry obliges us to be discrete; we also see hundreds of start-ups that are doing the same or something similar. There is no need for NDAs.
19. Can we raise funds from others as well as SFC?
Yes our letter of engagement states that you can raise with other funding sources.
20. What will happen once our start-up has received funding?
Next steps are normally agreed on a post-investment meeting when we also discuss the milestones and how the company will be reporting.
21. How long does it take to get an investment?
There are no rules, but on average it is 3 months from the moment we sign the Letter of Engagement. It can be as fast as 2 weeks and as long as 12 months.
22. Where does the information go when I submit the application form?
It is sent to our team at SFC, where only we can see it for screening purposes.
23. Can I have a call or meeting with you before providing the application form?
No, due to the number of enquiries our application form will be the first port of call when applying.
24. Can I send you my pitch deck directly?
25. Should I be introduced by someone you know to get investment?
26. Do you invest in EIS companies?
Yes, through private investors. At the moment we do not run EIS Funds but this might change in the future.
27. What value does SFC provide apart from funding?
SFC supports businesses in the post-investment phase by mentoring or assigning a mentor, and through introduction to people and services that are tailor made to startups needs.
28. I received a message that my application has been rejected, can I reapply in the future?
29. Do you provide feedback if a company is rejected?
Companies rejected at the first screening stage are informed about our decision, but normally we are not able to provide individual feedback. If a company is rejected at the second (meeting) or third (due diligence) stage, we then provide a detailed feedback.
30. What happens if my startup doesn’t attract angel investors?
Unsuccessful startups are provided with a feedback from the team at SFC regarding the reasons of not obtaining funds. We will still keep you in our database and we will reach out to you if we find a suitable investor in the future.
You couldn’t find answer to your question? Email us and we will respond to it and we will add it to the list above!