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The Robot Exchange secures £500k MEIF backing to drive robotic automation

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Nottingham 17 May 2021: The Robot Exchange has secured a significant £500k investment from leading private equity investment firm, Foresight Group, through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (“MEIF”).

The Nottingham-based business supplies Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) software and services to deliver efficiencies to businesses, helping them streamline and automate their processes via robotic infrastructure.

The funding will be used as growth capital, helping The Robot Exchange further innovate in the RPA sector - enabling greater investment in more technical solutions and increasing the volume of customers, markets and platforms that The Robot Exchange can serve.  The Company plans to create an additional five jobs in the near term.

The Robot Exchange focuses primarily on driving efficiencies in the UK enterprise market in a variety of market sectors such as financial services, the lettings industry and wealth management sector.

In light of the transaction, Andy Wallace, CEO of The Robot Exchange, comments: “We were looking for an investor that understood our need to continue to innovate while increasing our revenues. Our software as a service revenue structure around RPA is unusual, and I feel will be a key low-cost investment for many additional, and larger, clients across all vertical sectors.”

“Our Robotic Process Automation technology delivers rapid automation of manual and menial tasks, benefitting businesses and their customers, and we deliver a full return on investment for our clients within the first year, which is highly unusual for any tech project. The MEIF funding will no doubt help us expand this further as we grow our services and enhance our workforce.”

Ray Harris, Private Equity Director and Principal of MEIF at Foresight Group, added: “We’re very pleased to be backing The Robot Exchange as it continues to develop its software. A combination of a great product and management team within a sector that should see significant growth makes for a compelling investment proposition.”

Sajeeda Rose, Chief Executive at D2N2 LEP said: "I'm delighted to see the Midlands Engine Investment Fund supporting innovative and ambitious businesses within our region. With the increasing importance of automation, it's great to see Robot Exchange getting the support it needs to grow and help drive our region’s economic growth. "

The Robot Exchange appointed a deal team from Smith Cooper Corporate Finance, led by Dan Bowtell, to obtain growth funding and negotiate the transaction through to completion.

Dan Bowtell, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper, adds: “The funding attained from Foresight Group and MEIF will play a vital role in helping Andy and his team realise their growth ambitions, helping to digitise the way many businesses operate, boosting efficiency and streamlining operations.”

Legal advice was provided by Lipman Karas LLP.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

END

Notes to Editors

About Smith Cooper:

Smith Cooper is an award-winning accountancy and business advisory firm, offering a host of specialist services. Our partner-led team offers clients a truly committed and lasting partnership. Our team of highly consummate professionals provide advice that provokes thought, whilst respecting the needs of our clients and remains aligned with their personal and commercial goals. We take the time to understand their needs and aspirations, combining expertise, experience and market knowledge to ensure we exceed expectations.

For press queries: Get in touch with rebecca.foster@smithcooper.co.uk or call 0115 945 4300.

About Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”):

Foresight is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager listed on the London Stock Exchange, which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 35 years.

Foresight has more than £7 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs), Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Inheritance Tax Solutions using Business Relief (BR).

Foresight’s Private Equity team, comprising over 30 investment professionals, manages over £700 million in a portfolio of more than 100 companies and pursues four discrete but complementary investment styles: Venture, Impact, Growth and Replacement Capital through its growing regional office network.

Foresight was named ‘Fund Manager of the Year’ at the PLC Awards last year, ‘Generalist VCT of the Year’ at the Investment Week Tax Efficiency Awards 2018/19 and was a finalist in the 2018 Unquote British Private Equity Awards as Venture and Growth Capital House of the Year. In 2017, Foresight was voted ‘Best VCT Investment Manager’ at the Growth Investor Awards, having been previously awarded ‘VCT House of the Year’ at the 2016 Unquote British Private Equity awards.

Foresight’s largest office is in London with regional UK offices in Cambridge, Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Leicester, Edinburgh and Guernsey and international offices in Sydney, Rome, Madrid and Luxembourg.

www.foresightgroup.eu

About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (“MEIF”):

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands.

The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The programme will continue to spend to the end of 2023.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit www.eib.org

The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.

The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at https://thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk

About the British Business Bank:

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn[1] of finance to almost 94,800 smaller businesses[2]. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has also launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering almost £73bn of finance to around 1.6m businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at www.british-business-bank.co.uk.

[1] Figures as at end of June 2020

[2] Figures as at 28 January 2021