Regional at seed – global at exit

Bridging the regional funding gap – levelling up seed-stage investments

Overview of the SEIS Fund by David Smith

David Smith, Partner of DSW Ventures, discusses the rationale behind the DSW Ventures Seed EIS Fund

The DSW Ventures Seed EIS Fund invests in seed-stage regional deep technology, software and software-enabled services. It was launched in April 2023 and provides the capacity to invest up to £2m per annum in high-growth start-ups.

The Fund principally focuses on early-stage technology businesses and university spin-outs located outside the London-Oxbridge ‘golden triangle’. This under-invested asset class provides the opportunity for superior investor returns driven by lower competition for investments and capital-efficient companies.

Our “Total Engagement” approach delivers real value to our portfolio companies through our experience, focus, commercial approach and network – we target top-tier returns, boosted further by SEIS tax relief.

We are committed to sharing risk with our investors – the partners and staff of DSW will contribute over 23% of total individual commitments to the Fund.

The DSW Ventures Seed EIS Fund remains open to applications from interested investors – our latest fund brochure is available here.

Contact our partners if you would like to invest or to request further information.

Note that Seed EIS is a very high-risk asset class and may not be suitable for all investors.

The case for deep-tech investing in the regions

There are more spinouts from UK regional universities than from the Golden Triangle – 73 from Manchester University alone in the last 10 years.

There’s real brain-power in the regions – 25 Nobel Laureates from Manchester (ahead of Imperial), 11 from Birmingham, and 19 from Edinburgh. Not a bad haul of brilliance!

If the technology is right then later-stage money will follow…

Critically, there are very few early-stage institutional investors to get these regional businesses off the ground – limited competition leads to superior investor returns.

DSW Ventures SEIS Fund Essentials

Fund Size:


Target Portfolio:

Up to 10 companies per annum

Minimum Investment:



Target 3 to 7+ years

Target Companies:

Regional IP owners and knowledge intensive

State of Company:

Very early stage onwards – high risk of failure

Cash funds are required only on investments and all fees are contingent on successful investment of your commitment.

SEIS Relief

The SEIS scheme allows for benefits both at investment and exit. The principal benefits are outlined below and are subject to individual status and the qualification of the company and investment.

On investment

On exit

A rebate on income tax of 50% of investment

Capital gains are free from capital gains tax

GCT reinvestment relief reducing other gains by up to 50% of investment

Capital losses, after tax relief, are relievable at the margin rate of income tax

Important note: Seed EIS funds invest in very early-stage companies with a very high risk of failure. Investors should be aware that Seed EIS qualification is not guaranteed and there is a risk that the entire investment could be lost. Investing in DSW Ventures Seed EIS fund is therefore subject to suitability assessments.
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