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Barclays Eagle Labs matches founders and investors with their Demo Directory

February 22nd 2024

Ask any founder about the key challenges they face in growing their start-up and many will highlight finding the right investors to boost growth at critical periods as top of their list. From the other side, investors are often flooded with pitch decks of varying quality and suitability and find it challenging to discover and connect with start-ups of the right fit for their investment portfolio. The funding landscape can be difficult to navigate.

Barclays Eagle Labs, which has been supporting innovation and start-up growth since 2015 and has a well-established national network of businesses, partners and investors, is well placed to play a matchmaking role and help to connect founders and investors.

The Barclays Eagle Labs Demo Directory does just this.

Years ago, Benjamin Storey, Head of Investor Connectivity and Platforms & Demo Directory at Barclays Eagle Labs, used a simple spreadsheet of listings of investors and businesses to make suitable connections. He soon realised the growing network would need a more efficient process and he led the development of the online Demo Directory.

Over 18 months, the Directory has grown enormously and has 665 registered businesses nationwide, including many from Oxford. On average, Oxfordshire businesses have sought is £1.25m in funding, but the directory connects businesses at different stages of their journey, looking for different amounts of capital and levels of investment, with appropriate investors, ranging from angel investors to venture capitalists.

From the registered businesses in Oxford, 54.5% of the businesses are ethnically diverse and 59.1% have a female founder, reflecting Barclays Eagle Labs’ championing of diversity and inclusivity in start-ups and innovation.

Matt Lucas, Ecosystem Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs Oxford based at The Oxford Trust’s Wood Centre for Innovation, says, “We are pleased the Demo Directory is showing a high success rate, with 48% of founders registered on the platform successfully raising funds within six months. We hope to expand in 2024 and grow the network of both founders and investors on the platform.”

How it works

Firstly, it’s free and you don’t need to be a member of Barclays Eagle Labs or bank with Barclays. As a start-up, you register on the platform and create a profile for your business. You upload a short ‘demo’ video about your business of no more than four minutes. You can add additional information, including images, about your team and other aspects of your business.

This will go through some checks, and once approved, will be published on the Demo Directory. It remains live on the platform for three months, after which you can reactivate if you are still looking for investment. You can also request to remove your demo at any time.

Investors registered on the platform will be able to access your demo. The directory has the functionality for investors to filter for different industries, business size and stage, so they can explore the right businesses for their portfolio. If interested, investors can then get in touch with the business, but businesses will not be able to make contact with specific investors through the directory themselves.

To be included in the directory, businesses are required to demonstrate a track record. Investors need to attest to being either a self-certified investor or a professional investor before accessing the platform. Although there are some checks in place, Barclays Eagle Labs does not endorse any of the investors and advises companies to seek independent financial advice when engaging with investors.

To find out more

Barclays Eagle Labs are running a number of events across the country to raise awareness of the value of the Demo Directory.  To find out more, contact Ecosystem Manager Matt Lucas in Barclays Eagle Labs at the Wood Centre for Innovation.

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