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The British Design Fund

The British Design Fund is an early stage investment fund that specifically invests in, and provides support for, early stage UK product design and manufacturing companies. The Fund seeks to work with extraordinary entrepreneurs, with scalable products, who are ready to accelerate growth into the retail space and build long term value and thriving stand-out businesses.

The fund is being launched by product entrepreneur-turned-investor Damon Bonser, who has over 10 years’ experience building design and manufacturing businesses, launching over 400 products into the global retail market. 

Directors include John Mathers, ex CEO of the Design Council, which runs the successful Spark programme, where a number of the initial investee companies are expected to come from, and David Kremer who has over 25 years’ experience running Seven Towns, a multi-million toy and game business, and co-founder of Rubik’s Brand Limited.

The focus of the Fund is to invest in UK based early stage consumer and hardware companies that seek to lead the market in provision of innovative product design and manufacturing. The Fund seeks to invest between £25,000 and £150,000 in return for circa 15% to 30% equity.  All companies will share the same core route to market; through institutional buyers such as retail chains and international distributors which plays to the Fund’s strengths of launching brands into the global retail market.

Product expertise and access to networks within retail, product design and manufacturing will be leveraged across the team to drive growth potential. Investee Companies will receive specific support on:

  • market entry
  • sales strategy and execution
  • intellectual property
  • manufacturing and margin control
  • branding
  • cashflow and stock control

damoncroppedWe caught up with The Fund’s founder Damon Bonser to find out more about the benefits of getting involved:  

Why was The British Design Fund set up?

The UK has the second largest design sector in the world and the largest design industry in Europe.  However, there is an astonishing lack of equity funding into early stage product design and hardware businesses.  Most product start-ups are relying upon innovation grants and crowdfunding platforms to get their first products off the ground.  These are either lacking in commercial focus, or don’t bring any expertise and only deliver cash to businesses that badly need experts alongside the money.

Who can benefit?

Businesses that are likely to benefit most from the Fund are companies that have perhaps already graduated from an award or mentoring scheme like the Design Council’s Spark programme.  They will have a proof of concept or a prototype and will be now looking to take the next steps towards market.  In its first run the Fund is likely to lean towards consumer products with a route to market via a retail buyer as well as opportunities in the lower-tech end of the medical and healthcare device sector.

What support are these businesses likely to get from the Fund?

Product expertise and access to networks within retail, product design and manufacturing will be leveraged across the teams to drive growth potential.  Investee Companies will receive specific support on market entry, sales strategy and execution, intellectual property, manufacturing and margin control, branding, cashflow and stock control.

How do you expect these businesses to benefit over the longer-term as a result?

The businesses will benefit in the longer-term by having the necessary support and funding that is needed to ambitiously grow within the UK and successfully launch into overseas markets.  The Fund will keep the businesses focussed on the crucial initial growth phase of their lifecycle and ensure that long term value is being built into the business and is being preserved.

Anything else that would be useful to know? 

The British Design Fund will begin making investments in April but in the meantime we are still open to any further investors that are interested in investing into the Fund. 

Where can interested parties access more information?

For more information, please email Damon Bonser at enquiries@britishdesignfund.co.uk

www.britishdesignfund.co.uk