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Thrive is set up by Funding London, a venture capital company bridging the finance gap for early stage businesses based in London. With over a decade’s experience in supporting the startups of London through a variety of funding vehicles, Funding London sensed a need to illuminate the ever-evolving scenario of London’s early stage businesses.

Thrive features interviews with and opinion from budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. A mix of contributors from all areas of the industry is desired in order to spark genuine discussion about ongoing critical issues. While it showcases the effectiveness of successful ventures, it also encourages sharing lessons learned from missteps and unsuccessful projects.

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Investment · 1 July '19

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Launches his £100m ‘Greater London Investment Fund’ (GLIF)

On 30th May, to a packed audience of over 250 invited guests, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched the new £100m ‘Greater London Investment Fund’ ( GLIF), the largest fund of its kind, ever created by City Hall and Funding London. The audience consisting of entrepreneurs and investors were treated to exclusive presentations from GLIF stakeholders, Fund Managers and concluded with GLIF investee company ‘Synthesia’, demonstrating how they are revolutionising the next-gen visual content.

London is the best place in the world to start and grow a business. But even in such a dynamic economy, bright and ambitious entrepreneurs can’t always access the funds they need to turn their ideas into a successful business. Even though London continues to have a world-leading financial ecosystem, finance gaps exist in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) finance market which constrain small businesses’ ability to develop and grow. This is because many potential backers continue to deploy their funds on larger companies with a more established history. GLIF was launched to combat this very specific funding challenge and to explicitly focus on SMEs (including those led by people from underrepresented groups) who have previously struggled to secure vital investment.

During his opening remarks, the Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, clearly passionate about supporting the capital’s SME stated: “I promised to be the most pro-business Mayor that London has ever had, and that’s why we’re allocating a record amount to SMEs who can create jobs and play a crucial role in our economy.” The Mayor continued by reminding the audience “small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – they account for more than 99 per cent of all businesses in the capital and support more than half of all jobs.

Dr Liz Goodwin OBE, the Chair of the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), , which is one of the stakeholders in GLIF, endorsed the Mayor’s words by informing the audience at City Hall, “targeted finance like GLIF can play a vital role in helping overcome barriers to growing a circular economy in London, which could bring net benefits of at least £7 billion every year to the capital.”

The £100m GLIF Fund is wholly managed by Funding London and is supported with funding from our  stakeholders European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) European Investment Bank (EIB), LWARB and also returns from Funding London’s previous funds.  As well as investing in 170 companies, GLIF aims to secure at least another £103 million in private sector investment and create 3,500 new jobs in the capital. GLIF will provide loan and equity finance for London’s SMEs, through investments into three sub-funds. The sub-funds will be managed by two fund managers who have powerful track records in the ecosystem. They were announced as MMC Ventures  who will manage the equity sub-fund (lead by Simon Menashy, one of their Partners), and The Group who will manage the debt sub-funds (lead by Kala Desai, Head of Funds in London).

The GLIF will focus on industries identified by the Mayor in his Economic Development Strategy including areas such as cultural and creative industries, financial and business services, life sciences, low carbon and environmental goods and services, tech and digital, and tourism.
It also includes the Mayor’s environmental priority of helping London make the transition to a circular economy, where Londoners and businesses keep resources in use for longer. As such, £14 million of the total GLIF funding has been ring-fenced for businesses which support this goal, of which £7 million has been provided by the LWARB.

The launch of GLIF plus the support of Funding London, MMC Ventures and FSE Fund Managers, will play an important role in increasing the provision of SME funding. From this moment onwards, finance will now be available to SMEs with excellent growth prospects who have previously been caught in the finance gap. GLIF truly is long overdue and a welcomed lifeline for many SMEs and investors alike. As Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO Funding London, during her address so eloquently summarised.
The fund aims to lead the way in supporting London’s SMEs and maintaining the capital’s position as the ultimate place to build and grow companies. We look forward to working with our fund managers, MMC Ventures and The FSE Group, to achieve this vision.”