From growth accelerator to £2.5m and 300% growth

LivingLens has gone through four separate rounds of funding and raised £2.5m in total. The latest, a £1m investment from British Business Bank's Angel Co Fund, resulted in 300% growth and an increased presence abroad, with 40% of its business now coming from the US alone.

Carl Wong
Carl Wong, CEO at LivingLens

LivingLens' business fact-file

RegionNorth West
Type of fundingVenture Capital

Key Takeaways

The Challenge

Before this funding round, there were around five of us on the team. We were all doing a bit of everything. That funding allowed us to bring in people with domain expertise in different areas like sales.

The Finance

£1 million

The Outcome

We took a government-funded course called Growth Accelerator in 2013, based in London. London is the centre of the universe for equity finance. A specific module called Access to Finance educated us about what equity finance was, and where we could get it. We received £100,000 through a madtech accelerator called Collider.

LivingLens' journey to finance

  • LivingLens' finance journey started out in 2013 when, armed with a prototype and small proofs of concept, it received £100,000 of seed funding through an accelerator.
  • Fast forward six years and LivingLens has been through three more rounds of funding, raising £2.5m as it's moved from Start-up to successful company.
  • In early 2017, LivingLens completed its most significant round of funding through The Angel CoFund, a delivery partner of the British Business Bank, raising just over £1m, which enabled it to bring more expertise in-house, and improve its offering in foreign markets.
  • LivingLens has grown by 300% as a result, and now nearly 40% of its business comes from the US.
  • The team has grown to 17 people [from five in 2015], and has open vacancies for half a dozen positions. That would have been impossible, according to LivingLens, without the people and institutions that believed in its product, its team and the market.

LivingLens' top tips

  • 1

    Don't think of finance as a one time thing

    As your business develops, so does your need for finance. Different types suit different businesses.

  • 2

    Don't expect a quick fix

    The more money you ask for, the longer it takes. It took six to nine months during each round.

  • 3

    Consider financial institutions to finance growth

    Financial institutions can be more hands-on, and can provide introductions to distribution partners and clients.

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The best bits about Venture Capital

  • We grew by 300% and now nearly 40% of our business comes from the US [after a £1m funding round]. That would have been impossible without these people and institutions believing in our product, team and market
  • They asked tougher questions and although that might seem scary, it focused our attention on how we run our business and added so much value
  • The funding we received allowed us to bring in people with domain expertise in different areas like sales