What is it?

RentalStep is an online property rental platform that connects landlords and tenants – and aims to help both parties avoid, in their words, ‘high costs and poor service from letting agents’.

What makes it special?

One of RentalStep’s chief innovations is their free ‘Tenant Passport’ – an online profile which allows tenants to accrue a reputation rating based on parameters such as the number of on-time rent payments they have made, how their landlords have rated them, and information on their credit report.

‘Rent Recognition’ is another of their USPs, which passes information regarding rent payments back to tenants’ credit files, helping to boost their credit score.

For landlords, they offer a ‘nearly free’ model which provides free referencing, tenancy agreements and online communications with tenants for a low monthly cost.

What has the growth trajectory been so far?

RentalStep was the recipient of a £150,000 round of funding from Worth Capital in October 2016, winning the fund’s inaugural Start-up Series competition. In 2018, another competition win – this time UK Government’s Rental Recognition Challenge – secured another £350,000 of funding.

What is it? is ‘a hotel booking website with a twist’. They offer customers the ability to combine two hotels into a single booking to get the best possible value, which they call ‘hotel switching’.

They aim to help customers save money, enjoy higher quality hotels for less, and experience more during their trip.

What makes it special?

Built by travel industry veterans, Nightly is based around the idea of using hotels’ complex pricing systems to customers’ advantage. Prices can often vary enormously from one night to another, and the price paid for a customers’ stay is often based on a combination of different prices, each calculated to maximise the hotels’ revenue on a given night.

Nightly has a proprietary algorithm which identifies the cheapest room prices for each night of a users’ stay, and makes suggestions accordingly, allowing customers to mix and match hotels to achieve the best value, while still enjoying a simple, one-stop booking process. The user enters their details once, then Nightly’s system makes all the relevant bookings with individual hotels.

What has the growth trajectory been so far?

The firm received £150,000 of early stage funding through Worth Capital’s Start-Up Series Fund in 2018, with a follow-on investment of £70,000 in 2019, both through SEIS.

The Clubhouse

What is it?

The Clubhouse is a business members’ club and meeting space, which offers a service which ‘fills the gap between meeting in a hotel lobby, members’ club or coffee shop on the one hand, and working out of a co-working space or serviced office on the other’ – and provides hot desks, dedicated desks, virtual offices and meeting rooms in their four London sites.

What makes it special?

The Clubhouse’s declared goal is to make their members and their members’ businesses more successful. This approach feeds into their unique offerings versus competing services – including a dedicated on-site team to help members with a broad range of requirements, events, talks, partnerships and on-site catering.

This focus on premier service quality means that, in founder Adam Blaskey’s words, The Clubhouse is ‘more of a hospitality offering than a property play’.

The Clubhouse also differs from other desk and meeting services in who it attracts – in addition to younger start-up types, many of their members are mid-30s to mid-60s and C-suite level at established businesses.

What has the growth trajectory been so far?

The Clubhouse crowdfunded £950,915 in 2015 for 10% equity (pre money valuation: £6.75 million), followed by a further £785,000 from more than one hundred private investors. A later major fundraising round with Seedrs in 2018 secured an additional £354,000 for 4.27% equity against a pre-money valuation of £7.7 million.


What is it?

Exonate is a biopharmaceutical firm focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs to address diseases of high unmet medical need – particularly retinal vascular diseases.

Their current emphasis is on developing an eye-drop treatment for wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

What makes it special?

Exonate are focused on exploiting the alternative splicing of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), using small molecules of their own development which inhibit production of pro-angiogenic VEGF.

These inhibitor small molecules are applied as topical agents via eyedrops to sufferers of wet AMD and DME. These mean a much lower administrative cost and a much better quality of life for patients than current treatments, which require injections directly into the eye – which can result in side effects including bleeding in the eye and eye irritation.

What has the growth trajectory been so far?

Exonate first fundraised in early 2015, receiving £400,000 from Nottingham Angels and Fusion IP. They received another £400,000 via Angel CoFund in later that same year, another £1.5 million from investors including Uniseed, Parkwalk and the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund, Wren Capital and O2H Ventures in late 2016.

In 2017 they were awarded a further £4.9 million by the Wellcome Trust, and in early 2019 they brought in a further £1.5 million – for a total of £9 million raised to date.

Development of their product is on track to enter clinical trials in 2020.


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