In this exclusive interview with GBI Magazine, Jenson Funding Partners’ Sarah discusses the company’s approach to early-stage investing.

Barber outlines the impact of the recent extension to the EIS sunset clause, explains how EIS provides a boost to start-ups, and discusses how the new consumer duty rules have impacted early-stage investments.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your role?

I am the CEO of Jenson Funding Partners, having been part of the fund since its inception over a decade ago. Our focus on early-stage investments is driven by our belief in fostering change and opportunities within the investment ecosystem.

Q: The Chancellor’s move to extend the EIS sunset clause is undoubtedly a positive step, how do you see this impacting entrepreneurs and the UK start-up ecosystem?

The extension of the EIS sunset clause is a great move for entrepreneurs, providing much-needed certainty for their future steps. Coupled with the earlier increase in SEIS limits in 2023, this initiative allows portfolio companies to anticipate their future funding sources.

While there remains a gap between SEIS and many existing ElS funds, Jenson Funding Partners strategically positions itself in that crucial space, facilitating the transition from SEIS to later-stage ‘series A’ ElS investment.

The government’s commitment to early-stage businesses makes this an exciting time for entrepreneurs navigating the funding landscape.

Q: When we talk about start-up ecosystem, how early stage are these start-ups and does the Enterprise Investment Scheme provide a boost this early on?

When we talk about early-stage businesses, there’s an assumption that they’ve already hit this £1million revenue mark, but these businesses do not just appear. They have to go through the process of having an idea, a concept and an MVP.

We must find out if there’s a market for that product and then get that product market fit, so there’s a lot of stages before that million-pound revenue mark. So when we’re talking about the early stage Start-Up ecosystem, we need to remember that crucial stage before that.

That’s where SEIS and EIS can provide a great source of funding for early-stage businesses, alongside all the other funding that exists for businesses through those periods, including grants and R&D tax credits, which supplement those SEIS and ElS investments.

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