The Start-Up Series EIS Fund

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  • £20,000.00
    Min. investment
  • Generalist
  • EIS
    Investment type

The Start-Up Series EIS Fund is an evergreen offer investing in previous winners of the Start-Up Series, a UK-wide monthly competition delivered by commercial advisers Worth Capital.

The Start-Up Series is a series of monthly competitions run by Worth Capital and promoted by & - owned by Bonhill Group Plc. The titles provide insight and guidance to entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to start, grow and fund their businesses.

The Fund invests in B2C or B2B companies with innovative products or services that can create new consumer behaviours, in growth markets, with teams that demonstrate compelling marketing & communication skills and with a clear route to exit.

The investments will most often be follow-on from previous SEIS investments and therefore very well known to Worth Capital who will have been working closely alongside them as for a minimum of 12 months. Occasionally new businesses will be introduced to the fund, but will have come through the same stringent competition process. The Fund may invest alongside other investors, for example, other funds with specialist expertise.

Investors will normally hold a ‘mini-portfolio’ of 3 to 4 investments to diversify risk. The Fund is structured as an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) and plans to conduct serial closes throughout each tax year. There will therefore be several different tranches of investments and the type and degree of diversification will depend on which tranche(s) an investor is invested.


  • Investing in product & service start-ups in growth markets showing innovation with the potential to create a loved brand businesses
  • Selected by real world, commercial entrepreneurs with deep brand, marketing, retail & innovation expertise - Worth Capital
  • Experienced fund manager, authorised & regulated by the FCA - Amersham Investment Management
  • An exclusive source of deal flow, attracting a diversity of entrepreneurs, from a monthly competition promoted by
  • Ongoing oversight from experienced investor directors skilled in helping accelerate growth & reducing risk
  • Investments in ‘mini-portfolios’ of typically 3 or 4 businesses qualifying for attractive EIS tax reliefs

Investment strategy

The Fund invests in product and service businesses that are in attractive markets, have innovative products or services that can create new consumption behaviours, demonstrate the marketing and communication skills to build strong brands and have potential routes to an exit at a high multiple.

Investments will often be follow-on investments from the SEIS investments. They may also be sourced from outside the competition series. These EIS investments will still carry significant risks as the companies mature.

Typically, the Fund will invest £300,000 to £500,000 at a pre-money valuation of £1 million to £3 million. Such investment by the Fund may be alongside other investors e.g. other funds.

An investor may hold a ‘mini-portfolio’ of 2 or 3 of these EIS investments to diversify risk. The selection of these holdings is at the discretion of the Manager. A mini-portfolio is likely to be funded two to three times per year.


Worth Capital have deliberately designed a dealflow origination process based around a competition to achieve 4 ways to enhance the possibility of increased returns and to reduce the risks of smaller company investment.

Competition reach > delivering a high volume of entrants

• A high profile search for talented entrepreneurs

• The attraction of real and substantial funding

• Promoted by the ‘go to’ place for start-ups to look for advice

• Wide social media coverage

Sophisticated Distillation > surfacing superior entrepreneurs at attractive valuations

• Several stages of the competition – getting deep into the ideas and getting to know the entrepreneurs

• Teams and business plans interrogated by the Worth Capital team – commercial and technical due diligence

• Realistic valuations and appropriate investment funding based on maturity of the business and sector

Expert oversight > fast tracking progress and reducing risks

• Investor directors experienced in brand building, retail & innovation

• Entrepreneurs committed to investor director oversight from the entry process – ensuring the competitions attract entrepreneurs that value challenge, provocation and expert insight

Multiple investments > creating a tax efficient portfolio & predictable results

• Target 4 to 6 EIS investments per tranch (circa. per quarter)

• Selection of businesses across consumer sectors for a diversified portfolio

• All investments certified EIS compliant

Key team

PAUL SOANES - Founding Partner

An entrepreneur since leaving university, Paul founded iD in 1994, growing it into a top ten UK experiential marketing agency. He subsequently founded Brandspace, Europe’s largest promotional space media agency and returned initial backers 17 x their original investment within 5 years.  He is now a highly experienced seed investor and has invested in over 25 businesses since 2008.

Marketing - founded iD in 1994, grown into a top 10 UK experiential agency with clients including Nespresso, Unilever & Britvic.

Brand - founded Brandspace in 2004, exited to private equity after 4 years for £4.9 million.

Investor - since 2006, with significant exits including iChild (18 x return) and Yocuda (4 x return).

MATTHEW CUSHEN - Founding Partner

An experienced leader in large businesses including Kingfisher & John Lewis. Then a retail consultant and subsequently a director of “?What If!”, the global innovation consultancy. For 5 years, working across sectors with the leadership teams of business such as IKEA, Waitrose, Paddy Power & AB InBev. An experienced and, so far, successful angel investor in a dozen businesses.

Retail - senior positions in Kingfisher & the John Lewis Partnership.

Innovation - recently on the European Management Board of ?What If!, a global innovation consultancy. Still advising the leadership teams of global businesses including Waitrose, IKEA, ABInBev & The Restaurant Group. 

Investor - 15-year track record of angel investing, including a £376k return after 4 years on first £58k invested.

HAYLEY ETHERINGTON - Business Operations Director

Hayley has 15 years’ experience in strategic client management and relationship development for brand and media partnerships, most recently at a leading marketing agency. She has worked with the Worth Capital founders for over 13 years.

Exit strategy

Investee candidates must be able to demonstrate credible exit potential. Exits may require up to 5-7 years to achieve. Flexibility is key, therefore Amersham will assess any opportunity likely to capture a positive exit even prior to expiry of the 3 year EIS period, provided an early realisation is in investors' best interests.

Either a sale of investee companies or a sale/refinancing of assets owned by investee companies could facilitate returns to investors.

Fee summary

No initial charge on investor subscription. Initial adviser charge facilitated subject to agreement between investor and adviser. On termination of Fund, 0.65% of holdings. Other fees are as agreed with investee companies. Fees charged to investee companies indirectly affect investors’ returns.


Investors need to be aware that their investment would be risk capital into early- stage companies. Investing in this fund should be considered in the light of an investor's personal circumstances, experience and knowledge as well as in the context of an entire portfolio.

Past performance is no guide to nor an indication of future performance and early-stage companies are exposed to many factors influencing likely success or otherwise. The value of shares can go down as well as up and investors may get back less - or even none - of their original investment.

EIS shares are normally illiquid and therefore difficult to sell, if at all. EIS shares must be held for at least three years to qualify for tax reliefs that are available dependent on personal circumstances and also subject to changes in HM Government/HMRC policy.

Please see the fund's Information Memorandum for a full summary of the risks.


Only registered investors can access the documents. Receive access by registering for an account.

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The content above has been provided by Worth Capital, an Appointed Representative of Amersham Investment Management who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm registration number 507460.