Pre-seed and seed investment are both early stages of venture capital funding for startups. However, there are some key differences between the two that are important for entrepreneurs to understand.
Pre-seed funding is typically the very first round of funding for a startup. It is used to cover the costs of developing a prototype, conducting market research, and building a team. This type of funding is often provided by friends and family, angel investors, or accelerator programmes (such as SETsquared Bristol). The amount of money raised in a pre-seed round can range from a few thousand pounds to a few hundred thousand pounds.
Seed funding, on the other hand, is the next step after pre-seed funding. It is used to further develop the product or service, conduct more extensive market research, and scale the business. Seed funding is often provided by angel investors, seed funds, or venture capital firms. The amount of money raised in a seed round can range from a few hundred thousand pounds to a few million pounds.
So, what’s the difference?
One key difference between pre-seed and seed funding is the level of risk involved. Pre-seed funding is considered to be higher risk because the startup is still in the very early stages of development and may not have a proven track record. Seed funding, on the other hand, is considered to be lower risk because the startup has a working prototype, a team in place, and some traction in the market.
Another difference is the level of control and ownership that the investors have in the company. In pre-seed funding, the investors typically have less control and ownership in the company because the startup is still in the very early stages of development. In seed funding, the investors typically have more control and ownership in the company because the startup has a proven track record and is further along in its development.
Ultimately, pre-seed and seed funding are both early stages of venture capital funding for startups. It’s crucial that you know what stage you’re at and therefore what to ask for and what the implications are. Even if you get pre-seed investment it’s useful to also consider how seed investment will be different, if and when you go for it.
At Gravitywell, we love working with enthusiastic startups and can help with prototypes, pitch decks, MVPs, conceptual work and investment advice. If you’d like to discuss how we can take your idea to the next level, get in touch.
An outstanding achievement and something we are very proud of.
Back in 2019, ADLIB Recruitment was one of the first recruitment businesses to certify as a B Corp with a score of 82.8. Our belief is that B Corp provides a structure and measurement to improve, certification is the start of the journey. We set out our intentions publicly through annual impact reports and set the bar high. This approach ensured we maintained the focus and accountability needed to make change happen.
Since our initial certification, we’ve held ourselves accountable to improve year on year. We’ve become a 100% employee-owned business, created a Trust Board, Employee Council and gifted each of our existing employees share options with a clear route to realisation.
We’ve donated many thousands of £ to charities and NFPs, including Feeding Bristol, Grassroots Activation Project, St Mungo’s, Julian Trust and Forest of Avon Trust to name a few brilliant organisations.
Internally, we have created MotherBoard, a business charter, community and event series that drives tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We’ve also vastly improved our maternity leave policy and delivered D,E&I training, lived out through a healthily balanced team. The team have played lead roles in advancing GreenTech South West and Tech Ethics meet up groups. And that’s just for starters.
Today we celebrate the hard work that has gone into achieving our recertification. Focus will soon turn to our next recertification and setting the standards to a whole new level.
Built environment-focussed comms agency MPC has revealed an overhaul of its brand identity, name, website and values, as it launches as Meeting Place.
Established in 2006, the business is one of the sector’s most established agencies, working with clients across the built environment to deliver positive change for new developments through planning comms and public relations.
On the back of several recent client wins, the rebrand coincides with record revenues for Meeting Place across its regional offices, a 28% boost in like-for-like revenues over the last six months, and a headcount growth from 26 to 37 over the last year.
According to Meeting Place’s Managing Director, Nikki Davies, the changes underpin a new direction for the business as it sets its sight on growth across streamlined core services – planning communications and public relatio
Meeting Place’s new website outlines how its planning comms team will utilise public affairs, social value and digital campaign experience in an effort to bring communities together to recognise the potential of the built environment.
And combining its sector knowledge with an integrated approach to PR, its public relations team will shape client campaigns to build awareness and understanding
Nikki said: “We’re thrilled with the outcome of our new rebrand, which coincides nicely with a period of growth across our teams, as we start the year on a strong footing
“Our new values – insight, inclusivity and courage – dovetail with our clearly defined mission to use the built environment as a catalyst for positive change; whether that’s environmental, social or economic benefits.
“We believe our streamlined approach of planning comms and PR will serve as a key differentiator in the industry, and one which champions best-practice and delivers for communities, clients and the media alike
“Whether we’re gaining support for a new hospital in East Anglia, homes for first-time buyers in Devon, establishing a housebuilder’s ESG strategy, or driving awareness through PR – we’re on a mission to use the built environment as a force for good.”
Meeting Place’s client roster, which includes Legal & General and Places for People was recently strengthened following several client wins, including Regal London, Longfellow Real Estate and several solar energy providers. Headquartered in Bristol, Meeting Place has staff working remotely in locations across England and Wales following a move to a flexible working model.
The agency’s Regional Director for Midlands, Western & the North, Helen Goral, said: “Having bolstered our public relations, digital and design offering, our expanded teams will be central to the company’s growth targets this year. Across the region, we have seen a significant increase in demand for planning communications expertise and we are working on numerous high-profile projects which have contributed to a 20% like-for-like revenue increase year on year.
“The range and calibre of our recent wins underpin our ability to deliver return on investment and impactful comms for clients. Despite the recent economic situation, we’re still seeing a lot of confidence across the built environment, with our breadth of services allowing us to take a holistic, integrated view of client needs
“It’s incredibly exciting to be starting the year on a high, with record revenues, project wins and a vibrant new brand. We believe the built environment has so much potential as a force for good and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings.”
For more information on Meeting Place, please visit: www.meeting-place.uk
Becoming a member of Bristol Creative Industries brings many benefits. We regularly add new opportunities so here is a guide to the latest benefits you can enjoy by signing up. We’ll keep this post regularly updated.
Join Bristol Creative Industries from only £4.50 a month.
Showcase your best work and attract new clients with a company profile in the Bristol Creative Industries member directory. The directory receives lots of visits every month from people looking for services from creative businesses.
Got some business advice or news to share? As a Bristol Creative Industries member you can self-publish content on our website and it will appear on your member profile. We upgrade great content to the newsfeed and include four posts in our monthly email newsletter.
To get an idea of the content topics that do well, here are the top 20 posts by members in 2022.
Enterprise Nation Jessica Morgan from Carnsight Communications discussed the benefits of posting content in this interview.
The Bristol Creative Industries jobs board attracts thousands of job hunters every month. As part of your membership, you can post unlimited free job adverts, saving you on average £3,500 per candidate.
Piers Tincknell, co-founder of Atomic Smash, is one of BCI’s longest serving members and he told us in a member profile interview how he regularly uses the jobs board to recruit new employees.
BCI’s monthly members’ lunches are a perfect opportunity for members to catch up with fellow members and the BCI team.
Everyone has a slot of up to three minutes to tell the others a little about who they are and what they do and share any news and/or challenges. You don’t need to fill the full three minutes. We usually find some common themes emerge to discuss over the course of the session. It’s all very informal with no need to stand up and present slides.
The events are free to attend for members. They are a mix of in person and virtual events. The in person sessions are at The Square Club in Bristol and include a free buffet lunch.
Check the events section of details of the next lunches.
Big thanks to everyone who joined the recent BCI Members’ Lunch.
Great to see you all and thankyou to @SquareClifton for hosting us.
The next lunch is a virtual one on 5 Oct: https://t.co/wxAbGKc5l4 with an in-person event on 10 Nov: https://t.co/xF4OvVjHlP pic.twitter.com/E66orlkvFI
— Bristol Creative Industries (@Bristol_CI) September 20, 2022
Our flagship keynote events and workshops feature world class speakers sharing their expertise. It’s a unique opportunity to access valuable insights for growing your business. Bristol Creative Industries members receive a ticket discount.
Members can currently get a third off the price of tickets to our keynote event on 9 February in Bristol, Fearless Girl: How to make your brand famous and why that matters.
Keen an eye on the events section for the latest events. You can also sign up to the monthly BCI Bulletin to be notified of events.
Wake Up Call is a member exclusive live webinar that takes place every other Friday at 8.30-9am. The content is delivered by members for members.
Attending the free event gives you access to valuable insights from your fellow members and if you host a Wake Up Call, you can share your expertise and attract potential new clients.
See details for upcoming Wake Up Call events in our events section.
If you’re a BCI member and you’d liked to deliver a presentation on a topic of your choice during Wake Up Call, email Sian Pitman.
The regular BCI Walk & Talk networking sessions are for a group of 12 people who are keen to don their walking boots and explore the stunning countryside around Bristol and Bath.
It’s a great opportunity for members to make some new connections whilst getting some much needed fresh air!
The next BCI Walk & Talk is at 9.30am – 12.30pm on 3 March.
We host regular roundtables for agency leaders to discuss strategic challenges. These events are vital for us to hear from the member community about the key issues you are facing and how we can help. A roundtable on funding led to us creating this popular and regularly updated guide to the latest finance on offer to creative businesses.
If you are interested in getting involved with future roundtables, email Sian Pitman.
We regularly offer exclusive opportunities to BCI members. We are currently providing:
Reductions on co-working spaces, meeting rooms, hotel accommodation, a recruitment strategy review and a coffee subscription are just some of the many discounts and offers we’ve negotiated for members.
Join Bristol Creative Industries from only £4.50 a month.
If you have any questions about membership, email Alli Nicholas
Boxworks is a unique workspace in the heart of Bristol’s Temple Quarter. Twenty shipping containers have been re-imagined into stylish, affordable private studios perfect for small teams. The studios, or ‘Boxes’, are super-insulated, come with superfast fibre and 24/7 access. Tenants get access to facilities at Engine Shed too, including lounge access, a communal kitchen, showers and meeting rooms
To celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of Bristol’s creative community, Forward Space has teamed up with Bristol Creative Industries (BCI) and Circus Journal to launch Startup at Boxworks, a competition to win a 3-month tenancy at Boxworks. Aimed squarely at new businesses and freelancers part of the BCI network, the competition will provide much-needed support for the early stages of a business by giving a fledgling enterprise the space to grow and explore ideas, without the pressure of workspace costs.
The competition is open to all Bristol Creative Industries members with a turnover of £150,000 or less. To apply, entrants simply need to outline why office space would help take their business to the next level by submitting either a written statement, a presentation or a short video.
Full entry criteria is here. Deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday 17th February 2023.
Gavin Eddy, CEO of Forward Space, said
“I’ve loved seeing the countless businesses we’ve worked with over the years grow and find success after using one of our spaces. Helping to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in the South West is something I’m very passionate about too, so I can’t wait to see what interesting proposals we see over the coming weeks.”
Alli Nicholas, membership manager, Bristol Creative Industries, said:
“Bristol Creative Industries is thrilled to be partnering with Forward Space on this initiative. A 3 month Boxworks residency is such a brilliant opportunity for one of our members, particularly fledgling startups who may currently be working entirely remotely. Finding the right office space is key to the success of any business. Right next door to Engine Shed, Boxworks is the perfect place to get immersed in Bristol’s thriving ‘createch’ community; making new connections and exploring opportunities for growth.”
Simon Tapscott, co-founder and publisher, Circus Journal said:
“Circus is all about celebrating creativity and community in the south-west, and with a third of our readers running their own businesses discovering workspaces that inspire people to come together and collaborate is an important and recurring theme
“We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative to enable the next generation of creatives in Bristol.”
Enter the competition here.
Initially trusted by Frog Capital to conduct due diligence, as part of the Series A investment round our role then transferred into that of an interim CMO post-investment. During this time we conducted a thorough repositioning of the brand to support the growth ambitions of the business and new investors, whilst helping to build the team and recruit a permanent CMO.
“We’ve been working with Talisman Sparro for over a year now, and they have become an integral part of the Clue team. Initial engagement was to develop a high level marketing strategy to support us through our investment round and prepare for the scale up journey. The output highlighted the potential for Clue, swiftly progressing into a brand programme and a series of workstreams which included an interim CMO role. I have personally enjoyed building a positive relationship with the team and it’s been a really collaborative and productive process that has bought the whole business together and gives us a fantastic platform for global growth.”
Clare Elford – CEO
Full Case Study
There are plenty of exciting elements to running your own business – or any business! Many enjoy the freedom of being their own boss and delegating their own tasks (and where they work from). The thought of being paid to do what you love is an exciting and encouraging commodity.
Knowing what numbers are important when it comes to managing the finances of your business can be daunting, to say the least! We’re here to help with this handy video, to give you a quick rundown of what you should be tracking – dependant on your business goals.
Before we begin, it’s important to understand what your business goals are. The information you will need will change depending on these goals. For example, if you are in a growth stage, you’re going to be tracking different numbers to if you are simply in ‘survival mode’. This video will cover the ‘must have’ numbers to start with.
Arguably this is the number that most businesses will focus on, yet many will only look at how they did the month previously. It’s super important to have an overview of your turnover as a whole. Keeping an eye on the trends can show you quickly whether your numbers are up or down. If you can determine why your sales are fluctuating, you can implement strategies to ensure those numbers stay on an upwards incline. Without this, you may not even realise your revenue travelling on a downward slope.
These are the costs that directly relate to being able to provide your business’s goods and/or services. Having an account of these costs helps you also understand your gross profit. Make sure you routinely assess this number as it is one you have a lot of control over! How can you add value to your business? And how can you ensure that you get the most value out of these costs?
These are the expenses that are for running the business. You need to spend money to earn money, so it makes sense to ensure that you are keeping an accurate record of these expenses. Operating expenses include things such as wages and administration costs. When costs need to be reduced, this is the first place you should look. If you have an accurate record of what you’re spending to operate your business, you can evaluate whether you really need that subscription service anymore, or even if there are licenses you can afford to boot if you no longer need them.
This is a sneaky one! Corporation Tax is the tax you pay on any profits you make from successfully doing business, selling assets or investments. You won’t get a bill for corp tax but you will be expected to pay by your deadline (which is usually 9 months after your year-end/accounting period). There are certain things you must do to work out how much corporation tax you owe and must pay to HMRC. Corp tax is currently 19% of profits within a financial year…however, this goes up on 1st April 2023 to 25% for companies that make over £250,000. Posting a provision based on monthly profit will help take away that end-of-year scare. Top Tip: This is something that we do monthly for our clients here at FD Works, helping to reduce any big shocks at the end of the year!
This is the main figure that it all comes down to…how much money did your business make or lose? Obviously, a big one to keep track of! In other words, operating profit is the total income a company generates after paying off all operating expenses. The operating profit figure excludes gains or losses from interest, taxes and investments. This number is a highly effective way to distinguish the health of your business.
An extra number to keep an eye on is cash flow. Cashflow is the amount of money being transferred in and out of the business. Generally, if your outgoings are consistently greater than your ingoings then your business isn’t sustainable and you need to look at what can be done to solve this. However, it’s not quite that simple! You may spend £10k on sales in order to make £100k. Yet, if that money isn’t paid on time to you, you can’t reinvest another £10k into your next batch of sales. If you’ve been keeping track of the other metrics mentioned previously, you have the tools in place to troubleshoot your issue and react accordingly:
…And there you have it! In this article, we have broken down the metrics that we think are important to keep track of and understand. Now, this isn’t a comprehensive list, so make sure you get in touch with us or check out our website if you are ready to take control of your finances and work with our incredible team. We really believe that numbers reveal the opportunities for shaping any business.
Think of your ideal client? How would the relationship be? Simple and easy? Low maintenance? Drama-free? When you’re juggling a million and one other things, smooth and breezy interactions seem incredibly appealing. But to build long-lasting and fruitful relationships with clients, our interactions need to be honest, and we need to create a genuine connection with them.
So how can we go from transaction to connection?
Be there in the storm and the calm
How do your clients see you? Are you the saviour who sweeps in to save the day in their time of need? Or are you the quiet confident, ready to lend an ear at any time? If you can be both, you’ll be in a good place.
It’s something David Ogilvy talks about in Confessions of an Ad Man:
“The head of an agency has so much on his plate that he is apt to see his clients only in time of crisis. This is a mistake. If you can get into the habit of seeing clients when the weather is calm, you will establish an easy relationship which may save your life when a storm blows up.”
To be able to help solve clients’ problems and challenges you need to be armed with the insight into what works for them, how they see success and what their goals are. To get an understanding of this goes beyond their top-level strategy, it’s what makes them tick on a day-to-day basis, and the more interaction you have the deeper your understanding will be.
Don’t flatter to deceive
Think your client’s product or service is flawless? Brilliant, be sure to tell them. But if it’s not, don’t flatter to deceive – there’s a strong chance it will come back to bite you.
Ogilvy has words of wisdom on this too:
“It is difficult for a doctor to tell a patient he is suffering from a serious disease, and equally difficult to tell a client his product has a serious fault. But the time comes in the life of every advertising agent when he must grasp this nettle. When I told one client that I had doubts about the consistency of his spaghetti, his reaction was to question whether I could do a good job for any product I disliked… On the whole, however, I have observed an increasing tendency on the part of clients to welcome candour.”
Tell people their offer is flawless, and they will expect immediate outstanding results. And if those results don’t materialise? It’s likely you’ll be in the firing line. Tell clients where you think their strengths and challenges lie and you can focus on amplifying the strengths and together you can work on the challenges.
For a well-functioning relationship, both parties need to feel free to speak their minds. It takes time to build trust but inviting honest feedback from clients from the off and accepting this without pride and hostility will set the tone for open communication as the relationship progresses. Sometimes the client will know their industry and market the best and sometimes you will have the expertise and ideas to change their perspective. But when you have established honesty and openness in the relationship, these discussions become constructive rather than destructive.
Build deeper relationships
Deeper, more honest and connected relationships with clients take time. But the investment is worth it. It will allow you to set realistic goals, expectations, and deliverables – and meet them. You’ll be better positioned to address bottlenecks and potential challenges. And you’ll be armed with all the information and insight you need to better report on your success.
Every relationship is different, but have a think about your current clients – do you really know what their motivations are? Have you a firm grasp of what success looks like for them? Are you investing the right kind of time with them? Do you need more face-to-face meetings and less reporting? Could they benefit from networking in your circle?
The easy client relationship might on the surface free your time up to concentrate on other things. But you might be missing opportunities to foster a deeper and longer-lasting connection.
In summer 2021 we ran an event discussing funding for creative businesses with the south west team at Innovate UK EDGE and a group of Bristol Creative Industries members.
During the discussion, attendees said it would be useful if we could provide regular updates on the finance schemes that are available for creative companies in the south west and beyond. This guide is our response.
The post now is one of Bristol Creative Industries’ most popular ever blog posts. We keep it updated with the latest funding schemes for creative businesses so check it regularly. We also include the post in our monthy email newsletter, BCI Bulletin. To sign up, go here.
Micro and small businesses in the UK creative industries sector can apply for funding up to £50,000 with a package of support to grow their business.
Proposals must demonstrate clear benefits for the UK creative industry and the wider UK economy with a focus on a clear opportunity and the proposed innovation which addresses it.
Eligible projects must start by 1 June 2023, end by 30 November 2023 and last between three and six months.
Applicants must not have previously received funding from Innovate UK.
Applications are open until 11am on Wednesday 15 February 2023.
The West of England (with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) is one of six regions covered by this scheme via which creative sector micro, small and medium enterprises can apply for funding of between £10,000 and £30,000 for innovation projects to grow their business.
The other regions are:
Proposals must focus on a clear growth opportunity and the proposed innovation to address it as well as demonstrating the impact funding and support can have on the growth plan of your business.
Projects must also start by 1 June 2023, end by 31 December 2023 and last between three and six months.
Applicants must not currently be in receipt of public funding for business growth
Applications are open until 11am on Wednesday 8 February 2023.
This programme by MyWorld, in partnership with Digital Catapult and funded by UKRI Strength In Places, is a 16-week acceleration programme targeted at developers, creative studios, start-ups, and scale-ups in the West of England.
Successful applicants will explore innovative tooling solutions addressing industry challenges relating to the creation, delivery and assessment of experiences.
It includes up to £50,000 to develop a challenge focused proof-of-concept prototype or innovation to extend an existing project and supporting material.
Applications close on Monday 13 March 2023.
Bristol Council is offering grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 to organisations taking on a new city centre or local high street commercial property.
The funding is open to businesses, charities, CICs, sole traders and arts and culture groups for both long term and temporary/meanwhile use.
Organisations must employ fewer than 50 people, have a turnover of £10.2m or less, and a balance sheet showing £5.1m or less.
Funding can be used for structural works to a property or equipment to be used in the property (capital expenditure). The funding needs to be matched by 20%.
Applications are open until 12pm on Friday 31 March 2023.
More details here.
Creative Growth Finance from Creative UK provides scale-up finance to creative businesses. Loans of £100,000 – £1m with fixed interest rates from 7% – 15% are available.
Eligibility rules include:
More details here.
This new £23m social impact investment fund is for socially driven arts, culture and heritage organisations registered and operating in the UK. It offers loans between £150,000 and £1m repayable until May 2030.
More details here.
In the October 2021 spending review, former chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new £200m fund for businesses in the South West.
Delivered by the British Business Bank, it will provide loans from £25,000 to £2m and equity investment up to £5m.
The fund will launch in Spring 2023 and cover Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
More details here.
The Department for International Trade is offering match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 to businesses in England (applications for businesses in London have closed).
The fund can be used to support areas including:
More details here.
The Elephant Trust says its mission is to “make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when frustrated by lack of funds. It is committed to helping artists and art institutions/galleries that depart from the routine and signal new, distinct and imaginative sets of possibilities.”
Grants of up to £5,000 are available. Applications for the latest round of applications close on 23 January 2023.
More details here.
Grants of up to £100,000 are available for arts, libraries and museums projects.
The grants support a broad range of creative and cultural projects that benefit people living in England. Projects can range from directly creating and delivering creative and cultural activity to projects which have a longer term positive impact, such as organisational development, research and development, and sector support and development.
More details here.
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £4m for a demonstration of innovative technologies, services and processes for the UK’s fashion and textile sector.
The application deadline is 11am on 11 January 2023.
More details here.
UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.
Applications close at 11am on 11 January 2023.
More details here.
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.
Applications close at 11am on 18 January 2023.
More details here.
A Start Up Loan is a government-backed unsecured personal loan for individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Successful applicants also receive 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers.
All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 per business.
The loans have a fixed interest rate of 6% p.a. and a one to five year repayment term. Entrepreneurs starting a business or running one that has been trading for up to three years can apply. Businesses trading for between three and five years can apply for a second loan.
More details here.
This fund from Arts Council England supports individual cultural and creative practitioners in England thinking of taking their practice to the next stage through things such as: research, time to create new work, travel, training, developing ideas, networking or mentoring.
Grants of between £2,000 and £10,000 are available. Applications for the latest round of funding are open until 17 January 2023.
More details here.
If you’re running a creative social enterprise you may be able to access funding from UnLtd.
Finance of up to £5,000 is available for starting a social enterprise and up to £15,000 for growing a social enterprise.
Successful applicants also get up to 12 tailored business support plus access to access to expert mentors and workshops.
More details here.
Businesses can apply for up to £3,500 to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband.
Check if the scheme is available in your area here.
The government scheme provides a discount of up to 50% or £5,000 (excluding VAT) towards the cost of buying approved software.
More details here.
European research and innovation funding includes opportunities for the UK cultural heritage and creative industries, with over €144.5m available. Despite the UK leaving the EU, the government announced the UK will associate to Horizon Europe. This means UK scientists, researchers and businesses can access funding under the programme on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.
More details here.
If you know of another scheme that we haven’t listed and you’d like to share it with other creative businesses, email Dan to let us know.
The Effectiveness Series: Building confidence and better business performance in times of uncertainty
Join a three-part workshop programme to help you change you mindset and behaviour so you are better equipped to navigate through change. Sign up here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2022 was a pretty transformative year for Keep Art It.
Special thanks to:
Director Douglas Karson highlights:
We’re thrilled to bits about what’s coming next!