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School Space secures £800,000 to help schools generate revenue from underused space

ClearlySo helps School Space, a leading platform for schools to generate extra funds by hiring out their spaces, secure £800,000 in equity funding. 

London, United Kingdom School Space, a leading platform for schools to generate extra funds by hiring out their spaces, announced today that it has secured £800,000 in equity funding with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. School Space was founded by Jemma Phibbs and James Lloyd seven years ago when they were 17, in their last year at school, and following recent expansion they have completed the TechStars accelerator and been recognised by the London Mayor’s office on their growth programme.

School Space plans to use the new funding to transform its’ technology platform to provide an easy booking system for their customers, quickly and efficiently onboard new schools, and rapidly scale the business region by region, nationally.

In the United Kingdom, the education system is facing a funding crisis, but has a vast amount of underutilised space, with venues only used around 17% of the time. However, schools have difficulty reaching potential customers and managing lettings with their existing staff. For Community Groups such as sports and drama classes, there is a lack of affordable space, local leisure facilities are too expensive, and they have difficulty accessing schools.

School Space helps solve the problem by providing a fully managed service, connecting schools that have underutilised space with Community Groups who are looking for space. Schools who have partnered with School Space have so far generated over £600,000 in profit, providing a much-needed revenue stream to supplement existing educational budgets, and the model also brings communities closer to the schools in the area, encouraging a growth in local clubs and activities.

Jemma Phibbs, co-founder of School Space, stated: “We are delighted to have a stellar list of some of the UK’s leading angel investors on board who believe equally in our business potential and the impact we can create. This investment will allow us to scaleup, improve our customer experience and ultimately generate more funds for the education sector.”

Stefano Cappanari, investment manager at ClearlySo, commented: “We have worked with the School Space founders since they were awarded the Big Venture Challenge in 2016. We are very happy to have supported them in this new raise, which will help them scale and support the education sector with much needed additional revenue streams.

Ends

Notes to the Editors

About School Space

School Space is a social business, established in Oxfordshire. We are working to solve the education funding crisis by working with schools to hire out their facilities to local groups in the evenings and weekends.

School Space work with the school throughout the entire letting process. We are responsible for generating income, managing all the hassle and staffing, and engaging the local community. Schools use our services as it requires no investment, and provides incremental lettings income and a way to open the school’s doors to the local community.

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £230 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

Jemma Phibbs
Co-founder
School Space
E
: jemma@school-space.org
T: 07704107460

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

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LettUs Grow secures £1 million in funding to build the farms of the future

ClearlySo helps LettUs Grow, creator of advanced aeroponic technology for indoor farms, secure £1 million in funding to build world-leading indoor growing facilities, to help feed the growing global population.

Bristol, United Kingdom – LettUs Grow, creator of advanced aeroponic technology for indoor farms, announced today it has secured £1 million in funding to build world-leading indoor growing facilities, to help feed the growing global population.

The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has awarded the agri-tech company a grant of £399,650 to lead a £700,000 project – which will help increase food resilience and security in the face of climate change. LettUs Grow will work alongside ECH Engineering, industry leaders in controlled environment technology, and urban agriculture experts from Grow Bristol.  This is alongside a further €100,000 from the Green Challenge and several additional research grants.

The grants came hot on the heels of the disruptive startup’s most recent investment round, where they raised £460,000 from ClearlySo’s extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors, Bethnal Green Ventures, the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund II, managed by Parkwalk advisors, and angel investors. This funding has allowed the company to scale operations and drive forward product development to access a rapidly growing global market for efficient and sustainable farming technology.  

By 2050, humanity must increase food production by 70% to feed over 9 billion people. Existing methods of agriculture will not be enough to feed this burgeoning global population with 25% less farmland, degraded soil quality, and an ever more unstable climate. Alongside this, most ‘fresh’ produce is imported out of season, often travelling hundreds of miles to reach consumers and resulting in colossal waste throughout the supply chain.

To help solve this problem, LettUs Grow has designed a patent-pending aeroponic system that has shown crop yield increases of over 70% compared to existing solutions for leafy greens, salads and herb production. In aeroponics, instead of using soil, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-dense mist. This results in faster growth rates than conventional hydroponics, consistent and predictable yields, and a 95% reduction in water usage versus open-field farming. LettUs Grow doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides and massively reduces the environmental impact of delivering food from farm to fork, by siting farms in rural and urban locations.

Charlie Guy, co-founder and Managing Director of LettUs Grow: “This injection of private and public funding into the company enables us to accelerate our innovative products to market and build one of the most technically advanced facilities for indoor growing in the world.

“The global agri-tech industry is very exciting right now, all stemming from the necessity to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of food production. We are fielding enquiries from all around the world from food producers and farmers who want to experience the benefits of our technology across a growing range of crops.”

Matias Wibowo, investment manager at ClearlySo: “Innovation is critical to ensuring long-term food security and sustainability. Our investors see the value, both in terms of financial and environmental/social returns from tackling this systemic global problem. That’s why they got involved in LettUs Grow. LettUs Grow provides the technological innovation piece to the vertical smart farming movement that is currently trending rapidly in the urban context.”

For more information on how you can work with LettUs Grow or support their growth, contact Managing Director Charlie Guy on charlie@lettusgrow.org.

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Notes to the Editors

About LettUs Grow

LettUs Grow is a Bristol-based startup that designs irrigation and control technology for vertical farms. Their mission is to reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce, by empowering anyone to grow delicious food near its point of consumption.

Founded in 2015, the company conducted an extensive period of research and product development before filing patents on their proprietary aeroponic technology in 2017. Having demonstrated significant yield increases with their technology, they’re now building commercial aeroponic systems for growers around the UK.

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £230 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

About Bethnal Green Ventures

Bethnal Green Ventures is an early stage investor for founders using technology to change people’s lives for the better.

They help talented teams launch and grow tech for good ventures that significantly improve millions of lives and deliver great returns for investors.

Twice a year they run a 12-week accelerator programme, where they select 10 teams and provide intensive mentoring and support and £20,000 investment in exchange for 6% equity plus access to a further £50,000 and co-working space in London.

University of Bristol Enterprise Fund

The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund invests in Bristol University spinout companies which are developing scientific and technological innovations as well as other early-stage companies supported by SETsquared Bristol Business Incubator. The Fund is managed by Parkwalk Advisors.

About Parkwalk

Parkwalk invests in high growth, knowledge-intensive companies seeking to develop and commercialise technology and innovation originating from UK universities, research-intensive institutions and technology clusters. Founded in 2009, Parkwalk is the UK’s largest EIS growth fund manager focused on university spin-outs, having raised over £200m to date and backed over 100 companies across its managed funds since inception. The Global University Venturing organisation recently announced Parkwalk as the world’s second most active investor in this sector from 2013 to 2017.

In addition to the Parkwalk Opportunities Fund, Parkwalk has established EIS funds with three of the world’s leading research universities, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, to expand EIS initiatives into untapped areas of funding for the commercialisation of UK R&D.

Further Information

Charlie Guy
Managing Director
LettUs Grow
E: charlie@lettusgrow.com 

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E: john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 0207 490 9520

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HCT Group & ClearlySo win Social Investment Deal of the Year at the UK Social Enterprise Awards

Last night in London, HCT Group, the UK’s leading community transport operator, and ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, won Social Investment Deal of the Year at the UK Social Enterprise Awards. The award recognises the £17.8 million funding package that HCT Group secured, with help and support from ClearlySo, earlier this year. The funding is being used to accelerate HCT Group’s growth, providing the working capital to continue their rapid expansion and to provide the funds to acquire commercial bus operators and turn them into social enterprises. Dai Powell, CEO of HCT Group, commented on the award win: “Social investment is vital for HCT Group, providing the resources we need to grow our business, our social impact and our ability to create social change. We are delighted to receive this award as, working together with ClearlySo, we have shown that social investment can work at genuine scale, securing the resources we need for the next stage of our growth” Further commenting, Rodney Schwartz, CEO of ClearlySo: “It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with the HCT team for over a decade on several important transactions, including this award-winning investment—HCT proves business can do well and have a strong social impact.  At ClearlySo we are especially proud of this complex deal which blended in mainstream and high street bank capital with that of traditional impact investors.” More information about the UK Social Enterprise Awards, award categories and winners may be found here. Ends Notes to the Editors About HCT Group HCT Group is a social enterprise in the transport industry, safely providing over 30 million passenger trips on our buses every year. We deliver a range of transport services – from London red buses to social services transport, from school transport to whole bus networks, from community transport to education and training. We reinvest the profits from our commercial work into further transport services or projects in the communities we serve. About ClearlySo ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with businesses, charities, and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return. Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £230 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors. ClearlySo is headquartered in London.   

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ClearlySo wins Best Professional Service Provider at the Global Wealth & Society Awards

At the Global Wealth & Society Awards last night in London, ClearlySo won Best Professional Service Provider. The judges highlighted ClearlySo’s commitment to client service and mission to bring impact to all investing! The Global Wealth and Society Awards Programme seeks to recognise high and ultra-high net-worth individuals who invest and deploy their wealth in ways to bring about positive impacts on the society that they operate in, and the institutions and providers that enable them do so. More details about the awards, entry categories and judging criteria may be found here.

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ClearlySo are proud supporters of WE in Social Tech: Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs

ClearlySo are proud to support the WE in Social Tech programme to empower female founders in London’s tech scene, specifically those focusing on social impact.

WE in Social Tech is a new London-based growth accelerator supporting ambitious women-led technology businesses, based in the UK. Launched today, applications are now open for the FREE six-month accelerator programme, designed to help female tech founders with a social purpose start, grow or scale their business, and close on Monday 19th November. This is a great opportunity for founders to build confidence, knowledge and skills in a variety of areas from finance and sales to marketing and more, as well as develop professional networks, gain support from peers and mentors and potentially grow their business. Apply Now!

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