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ClearlySo makes new board appointments, prepares for future growth

ClearlySo welcome the appointment of Gillian Wilmot as chairman, joining recent board additions Tracy Lewis and Joseph Krant. 

London, United Kingdom ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, announces today that it has appointed Gillian Wilmot as chairman. Gillian has a strong background in the consumer sector before she developed a wide range of corporate, non-profit and government experience in a variety of fields. She is also an experienced mentor and has helped coach many high growth businesses and their executive teams.

Gillian joins two other recent board additions. Tracy Lewis is chairman of Inspired Thinking Group, and a non-executive director of Staffline Group Plc and Bluebella Lingerie, following a successful career as an entrepreneur in the retail sector. Joseph Krant, currently an associate partner at Catalyst Advisors Netherlands, has previously spent nearly 30 years at Dutch merchant bank Kempen & Co., which was sold to Dexia for approximately Euro 1 billion. Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus Investments, joined in 2016 and remains on the ClearlySo Board.

The new board appointments come at a time of tremendous growth for ClearlySo and impact investing more broadly. In 2018, ClearlySo helped enterprise and fund clients raise a record £72m versus £45m in 2017. The 20 clients assisted last year included HCT Group, Bulb Energy, Unity Trust Bank and Ecoffee Cups. In addition, ClearlySo marked its 10-year anniversary in September.

Commenting on the new board appointments, Rodney Schwartz, chief executive of ClearlySo, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have brought such extraordinary talent to ClearlySo’s board at such an exciting time for the company. The diverse set of skills and experience of our new Board will position us extremely well for the future. I am especially pleased that Gillian has joined, as she has the rare quality to both add value directly and galvanise others in a common endeavour.”

Further commenting, Gillian Wilmot said:

“ClearlySo is an inspirational organisation, whose determination to ensure that business is a force for good is something I greatly admire and support. As demand for impact investing continues to surge, I look forward to helping ClearlySo further capitalise and develop its market leading position.”

Ends

Notes to the Editors

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 £248 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Gillian Wilmot bio

Gillian has been at the forefront of British business, up to board level, for more than three decades. Her success led to her becoming a government adviser on trade and industrial strategy.

Now, as a recognised Chairman and award-winning Non-Executive Director – as well as a writer and speaker on leadership – she uses her vast experience to train, mentor and advise today’s business leaders and those of tomorrow.

She is the founder of Board Mentoring, the Chairman of UK Coaching, has been highlighted in the Sunday Times Non-Executive Director Awards for her business acumen and is a pioneer in advancing the role of women with business. She was recently appointed as Chair of the Senet group, working with CEOs to promote responsible gambling.

In the 1980s, Gillian launched the award-winning and highly profitable Next Directory. During the following decade, she transformed the brand and profitability of Avon Cosmetics. And as one of the MDs at Royal Mail in the early 2000’s, she helped to kick-start the transformation and culture change of the business and its return to profitability.

Gillian has also been a key executive in companies such as Marks & Spencer, Boots, Avon Cosmetics and Littlewoods, has completed two turnaround roles as a CEO, led buyout bids and is a highly experienced leader within corporates, private equity and founder-owned arenas.

Through her global work with Board Mentoring, Gillian matches experienced Directors with CEOs and CFOs, and helps executives navigate their career paths by ensuring they are board-ready.

At UK Coaching, Gillian has been instrumental in harnessing the power of sport and coaching to increase leadership diversity, drive social inclusion and transform performance through health and well-being.

Gillian utilises her board experience within retail, energy, technology, leisure and insurance to help leaders achieve their ambitions and transform their businesses. She is currently writing A Mentor’s Guide To Leadership Success on how women and under-represented groups can succeed in business.

Joseph Krant bio

Joseph started his career more than thirty years ago at Pierson Heldring & Pierson, followed by a move to Slater Walker Europe in 1972. In 1973 Slater Walker acquired Kempen & Co, the Dutch Investment Bank. 28 years later, after a very successful period characterised by strong growth and a high profit level, Kempen & Co was acquired in December 2001 for approximately € 1 billion by Dexia (the Franco-Belgian financial services group) and was merged with Labouchere (a retail bank already part of Dexia bank). At the end of 2002, after having continued to manage the two banks as CEO under the name Dexia Bank Nederland, he decided to resign.

However, always looking for new challenges Joseph decided to found Catalyst Advisors with (his former colleague and partner at Kempen & Co/Dexia) Herman van Everdingen. Apparently, there was/is a great need for independent advisors, with an extensive experience in deal making and familiar with the process of mergers and acquisitions. Over the past 12.5 years he has managed Catalyst Advisors with great pleasure and has completed many successful transactions.

Tracy Lewis bio

After a successful career in fashion retail, Tracy joined private lingerie business Eveden in 2003, bringing in minority PE backing in 2006 to support business expansion. She devised and led a highly successful brand and international expansion, culminating in a trade sale to Japanese lingerie giant Wacoal in 2012. Following this success, Tracy’s achievements were acknowledged both Nationally and in the Midlands by EY as a recipient of Entrepreneur of the Year awards and by the BVCA as CEO of the year and exit team for the Midlands.

The following four years saw Tracy continuing to head up the autonomous Wacoal Europe division, expanding the reach of the UK designed portfolio, launching the brand design of Wacoal lingerie for the western consumer, and becoming a female spokesperson for the business across the East. During this time Tracy also held Non-Executive positions in both the not for profit and PE backed beauty sectors.

Tracy continued as CEO until 2016 and after a period acting as a board advisor to support the transition, she left to focus on a cross sector plural career and to further her volunteering and mentoring interests.

Since 2016, Tracy has held the position of NED & Chairman of RemCo for AIM listed Staffline Group Plc, the UK’s leading outsourced workforce and skills provider. In 2017 Tracy moved from NED to Executive Chair of PE backed, ITG, the dynamic and highly respected leader in the Tech-led Marketing industry and also joined the board of the multi award winning, high growth lingerie brand, Bluebella.

In addition to her various Board responsibilities, Tracy is involved in several mentoring initiatives, primarily focused on women in business and she also enjoys volunteering in areas related to youth employability and business skills development.

Further Information

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

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ClearlySo advises Tonik Energy on securing £13 million capital investment

ClearlySo advises Tonik Energy on securing £13 million capital investment led by Japan-based Mitsui and Co., Limited.

London, United Kingdom ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, announced today that it has advised Tonik Energy (the Birmingham-based independent supplier of renewable energy with nearly 100,000 members) (“Tonik”) and its sister company The Phoenix Works (provider of B2B and B2C green technology solutions) (“Phoenix”) on successfully securing a £13 million capital investment. With this investment, Tonik can accelerate roll-out of its integrated strategy to combine affordable energy supply with renewable and energy saving technologies including solar power, electric vehicles and battery storage.

The investment has been funded by Mitsui and Co., Limited (“Mitsui”) and existing investors, with Mitsui taking a strategic minority stake in the business. Mitsui is an integrated trading and investment company headquartered in Tokyo, which has invested in the group as part of its strategy to expand decarbonised, distributed and digitalized downstream energy business.

Despite the combination of extremely challenging conditions in the UK energy supply market (which has led to some other independent suppliers ceasing trading), regulatory interventions in the energy sector and wider political and economic uncertainty generated by Brexit, ClearlySo assisted Tonik in engaging with Mitsui and supported the management team in structuring and completing this investment round. Mitsui’s investment in Tonik also evidences the growing investor appetite for dynamic, market-leading and high impact businesses and how this investor appetite continues to become more global.

This Tonik announcement comes on the heels of other recent major advisory and capital raising mandates completed by ClearlySo in the renewable energy supply and energy management sectors. This includes recent Series A capital raises for Bulb Energy and Upside Energy that saw several mainstream institutions investing. It also evidences ClearlySo’s track record in closing larger transactions for impactful organisations, following ClearlySo successfully advising the HCT Group on securing a £17.8 million funding package in June 2018. This trend reflects the deeper institutional investor appetite for – and ability to invest in – high impact businesses that can generate commercial returns.

Chris Parsons, head of investment banking at ClearlySo, commented: “We are very proud to have worked with the Tonik and Phoenix teams and to have helped them successfully secure this significant investment. We believe that Mitsui will deliver significant value to Tonik and Phoenix as their strategic partner and investor. Market conditions have made this a challenging transaction to complete but this investment endorses Tonik’s track record, strategy, high quality management team and unique attributes.”

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Notes to the Editors

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 £248 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

Further Information

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

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ClearlySo publishes new report on impact investment

ClearlySo has published a new and FREE report on impact investment, reflecting on the last 15 years in the space. 

Despite the hype of the past 15 years, impact investment remains a microscopic proportion of global assets under professional management. That said, impact investment does appear to be gaining significant momentum.

This new report from ClearlySo assesses the historical background of the movement, including the unintended consequences of government subsidy and intervention, as well as the underlying trends that appear likely to accelerate its global growth. At ClearlySo, we believe that this momentum is being driven by the following key market dynamics:

 – The entry of mainstream pioneers drawn to the prospects of outsized market growth
 – A generational shift in client demand
 – Corporate success stories capturing public attention
 – Pressure from influential groups delivering increasingly constructive impact-related initiatives

To download the FREE report, click here.

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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.

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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.

Ends 

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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