New fund seeks to transform early-stage funding model

A new technology investment fund has been launched with the aim of transforming the early-stage funding model for engineering start-ups.

In a statement EcoMachines Incubator said it is looking for seven early-stage start-ups that are active in high-value manufacturing and advanced engineering to join its nine month accelerator programme starting in November 2013.

Participating start-ups will receive £100,000 in equity funding as well as access to mentorship, industry partners and an investor network. Successful graduates of the accelerator programme could benefit from a further £500,000 of follow-on funding and continued support by EcoMachines Incubator.

Ilian Iliev, CEO and founder of EcoMachines Incubator, said, ‘In recent years, investors have shied away from investing in hardware because of its perceived difficulty. We want to make the hardware space attractive for investors again.

‘We still depend on hardware for everything we do. Yet the lack of innovative funding models for early-stage advanced engineering start-ups is holding back the potential of both UK and international entrepreneurs to address some of the world’s most pressing problems.

‘At the moment, the process of building a hardware company takes far too long. We will use Lean Start-up principles to help companies achieve through our nine month accelerator programme what it would take them two years or more to do on their own.’

EcoMachines Incubator is focused on companies working in energy, cleantech, transportation and industrial high-tech fields.

Prof Nelson Phillips, from Imperial College Business School, said, ‘The arrival of the seed funding accelerator model in the energy and cleantech hardware space is an exciting development.

‘Investors have been attracted to the digital media and internet space due to the fast time-to-market, relatively low capital requirements and high profile stock market exits. Hardware has yet to see these same business and cost model innovations.’

Interested companies can apply to participate in the accelerator programme here.