DSW Ventures hits milestone deal flow at 1,000 applicants for funding 

DSW Ventures, the business angel network, is celebrating a milestone after receiving its 1,000th application for funding within two years of its launch.  

The business, which was started in the North but expanded to other regions in recent months, has also become one of the largest in the UK with over 100 investors. Last year it was selected as the first partner on the British Business Investments’ £100 million Regional Angels Programme. 

DSW Ventures, part of the Dow Schofield Watts group, operates a managed service for early stage equity investments – combining the professionalism and portfolio management capability of a venture capital fund with the flexibility and breadth of resources of an angel network. The team is supported by the combined experience of nearly 100 financial professionals across the group. 

Founder David Smith commented: “DSW Ventures has very quickly become established as a key part of the regional funding landscape. The start-up scene in the regions is flourishing and offers exciting opportunities for our angel investors, however early-stage venture capital funding remains heavily concentrated on London.  

“Our mission is to help bridge this gap. Since expanding beyond the North, we are now receiving applications from early-stage businesses thoughout the UK. Our focus on the under-invested regions offers our angels access to disruptive entrepreneurial businesses operating and innovating at a level of efficiency which is unachievable in the capital. Our businesses can do much more with much less. 

DSW Ventures has made four investments so far, the most recent being women’s outdoorwear brand ACAI Activewear. All investments are eligible for Enterprise Invetment Scheme (EIS) tax relief.  

Keith Benson, a former fintech software developer and corporate finance specialist who runs the network alongside David Smith, added: “The regions are brimming with software engineering talent and the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive. It is great to see so much activity. The increasing quantity, quality and traction of the businesses we are meeting is hugely encouraging and bodes well for the regional economies as the next generation of businesses starts to scale.”