Mayor’s fund generates almost £80m investments in London’s SMEs

09 December 2015

An online fashion retailer and a Bermondsey company selling ethically-sourced coffee from across the world are just two of the small businesses to receive funding from the Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘MMC London Fund’.

A total of £78million has been invested in 19 of the capital’s small and medium sized businesses, helping them to innovate and grow, since the fund was launched in June 2013, in partnership with MMC Ventures and Funding London. The Mayor’s investment has helped create and safeguard more than 650 jobs across the city.

Companies funded through the scheme include:

· Wool and the Gang, an online fashion retailer selling ready-knitted clothes and knitting kits with the aim of creating a global knitting community, has received £450,000. Their designs have been featured on London catwalks worn by Cara Delevingne and Erin O’Connor. The founders have successfully collaborated with Giles Deacon, Whistles, John Lewis, the British Fashion Council and Save the Children.

· Pact, an online coffee delivery service selling ground coffee and coffee beans from an ethical supply chain, has received £750,000. The company buy coffee directly from the best farmers across the world ready for small batch roasting at their Bermondsey headquarters.

· Masabi, a company that revolutionised the way we travel by providing mobile ticketing on the Thames Clipper and major UK trainlines, has received £940,000. They are expanding worldwide with deployments in major cities including Boston, New York and Athens.

The Fund is operated on behalf of the Mayor by Funding London and MMC Ventures. £14m of City Hall funds, part-financed by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund and investment returns generated from Funding London, have been used by manager MMC Ventures to attract an additional £64m of co-investment from private investors into these London-based growth companies.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “London’s small and medium-sized businesses are flourishing and play a key role in helping our economy to prosper. I am delighted that this innovative equity fund has helped companies make their ideas a reality and deliver jobs and growth for the capital. This Fund shows how a relatively small amount of public funding can leverage much larger amounts of private capital.”

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the capital’s economy, representing 50 per cent of the workforce. Access to finance can be a key barrier to growth, but the fund has provided financing for early stage businesses with a particular focus on software for financial services; creative industries; the digital economy; leisure; education; and healthcare.

Simon Menashy, Investment Director at MMC Ventures said: “MMC has been investing in London for 15 years, and we continue to believe that this great city produces world-leading talent and businesses. We are pleased that our partnership with the Mayor has been so fruitful and believe that we are jointly supporting some of tomorrow’s leading London-based technology companies.”

Ben Whitaker, Co-Founder of Masabi, the global leader in transport mobile ticketing, said: "The funding we have received in recent years has been transformational for the business - it has allowed us to grow quickly and secure really interesting contracts, like New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MBNA Thames Clippers and Transport for Athens. The support we've had from the MMC London Fund has been great and has really allowed us to make the jump towards international expansion."

Lisa Rodwell, CEO of Wool and the Gang, added: “Financing from the MMC London Fund is helping us create a global community of knitters centred in London, one of the fashion capitals of the world. It has enabled us to grow the company and secure further financing, including a recent £1m crowdfunding campaign.”

Notes to editors

1. The MMC London Fund is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund which is one of the funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. The Greater London Authority is the managing agent for the European Regional Development Fund in London on behalf of Government. MMC Ventures won a competitive tender to launch the MMC London Fund.

2. Founded in 2000, MMC Ventures is an active investor and award-winning venture capital fund, focused on technology-enabled sectors where the UK is a world leader – particularly financial and business services, business software, digital media and e-commerce. With over £150 million under management, and investing circa £25 million annually, MMC is ranked as one of the top 10 most active early-stage investors in the UK.

3. Funding London, the prinicpal investor in the MMC London Fund portfolio, is an independent entity set-up by the Mayor’s office in 2004 to channel funding from Europe and UK to London’s sustainable and ambitious enterprises.