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Business bucks recession with major expansion

Image by Christian Ferrari -

Image by Christian Ferrari -

Press release issued: 1 July 2010

University-based business acceleration specialists SETsquared have brought a new Bristol-based software service into a major phase of expansion, helping them to secure £1million of funding, bucking the recession’s investment shy trend.

Since teaming up with SETsquared in May 2009, BrightPearl, which provides an online office package to small and medium enterprises, has successfully entered the mass B2B market with an effective business model, marketing strategy and funding for substantial growth from Eden Ventures and Notion Capital.

“When we met BrightPearl they were already trading but needed specific advice from people who understood their product and marketplace. SETsquared is all about new technologies and businesses who have potential for fast track, high growth,” said Nick Sturge, Centre Director at the Bristol SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre. “Our strength in the sector comes from the deep understanding of fast growing high-tech businesses and our superb business network”.

The SETsquared Partnership, involving Bristol, Bath, Southampton and Surrey universities, connects industry and academic research, through technology transfer, licensing, and creating spin-outs. The Partnership also drives "spin-ins", new business opportunities within the community, such as BrightPearl.  Since launching in 2004, SETsquared has incubated more than 200 companies of which over 80% were spin-ins looking for help to grow.

BrightPearl had the benefit of Business Review Panel (BRP) process. A panel of experts challenged the entrepreneurs on their strategy in order to help identify areas of weakness or scope for development.  The founders of BrightPearl were put through a BRP, operated specifically as a model board meeting to help them prepare for the critical period after investment.

Andrew Mulvenna, founder Director of BrightPearl said: “BRP was great for us because it could be tailored to what the company needs at the time. The first panel focused on our markets and business model, but we then needed to get ready to seek investment funding, so our second panel was designed to reflect a typical board meeting where stakeholders and investors would be present."

Similar panels are run for the members across the four Business Acceleration Centres in Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, all with the aim of providing high quality expertise and technical support to businesses in the high technology arena at the right time, driving and encouraging companies to take the next step from incubation to commercial success.

Further information

Please contact Julia Falcon for further information.
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