Catalyst Venture Partners Introduces Zero-to-Hero VC Challenge

12/2/2005 - Catalyst Venture Partners, the venture capital boutique specialising in advising revenue generating, early-stage companies on fast-track growth and investment, has launched Zero-to-Hero 2006, a unique competition for ambitious and innovative companies.

Zero-to-Hero 2006 is an exceptional opportunity for the winning companies to informally discuss their businesses with key Venture Capitalists in the early-stage sector and learn what it takes to attract funding to achieve fast track growth and a high value exit. The competition is open to companies for whom technological application and innovation provides the underlying rationale for their business.

Twenty (20) places are up for grabs on the Zero-to-Hero 2006 one-day, fast track to fast growth work camp. The event will be held on Wednesday 29th March 2006 at the RBS Williams Formula 1 Conference Centre in Oxfordshire.

Entering Zero-to-Hero 2006 is simple. All companies have to do is email an Executive Summary of their business plan (maximum 6 pages) to: The closing date for entries is Monday 6th March 2006.

Following the event itself, the participating companies will be given additional time to reappraise their business plans and submit a revised Executive Summary, if they wish, after which an overall competition winner will be chosen. The Executive Summaries will be re-evaluated on the basis of key criteria relating to the participants overall business plans, fast track growth prospects and potential appeal to investors.

Entries for the inaugural event in 2005 came from a diverse range of industry sectors including: environmental technology, biotechnology, computing software and hardware, new media, retail technology, materials technology and the application of electronics technology.

Zero-to-Hero 2006 is being staged in association with several sponsors and partners active in the early-stage business development and investment market. They include The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS and NatWest), Eden Ventures, the SETsquared Partnership, TLT Solicitors, BusinessXL magazine and NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).

"Zero-to-Hero is a unique competition designed to help the 20 "winning" companies determine whether they have what it takes to make the grade on the fast track to fast growth," said Richard Turner, a Partner in Catalyst Venture Partners. "On the Zero-to-Hero work camp the participating companies will be able to evaluate their business propositions against key, fast growth criteria and better understand the funding processes needed to make it happen. The winning companies will also be able to develop a critical appreciation of the nature of the financing offers they are likely to receive and how to evaluate them as well as meet with key investors in the early-stage sector."

Further details about Zero-to-Hero 2006 can be found at:

About the Organiser
Catalyst Venture Partners works with media, environmental, bio-science, and information and communication companies who have the ambition to achieve fast growth and exit within five years. Catalyst helps build companies by strengthening management teams, introducing trophy customers, and raising funding. Catalyst draws investment funding from its own sources and also from its funding partnership with Quester, Foresight Ventures, Octopus, Matrix and YFM South West Ventures.

About the Sponsors
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, encompassing the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, is the largest UK corporate bank. The bank has a network of corporate offices and Relationship Managers committed to providing a focused service to businesses of all sizes, supported by a comprehensive range of products and services. The Bank is the acknowledged market leader in the provision of support to technology based businesses, and we have a nation-wide network of Commercial Technology Managers, supported by a dedicated Central unit, to provide innovative, appropriate and flexible financing packages for this sector.

Eden Ventures generates high returns from new technology through the effective application of management and capital. The company focuses entirely on early stage UK & Ireland software opportunities in the telecommunications, digital media and enterprise sectors. Eden Ventures has recognized from its inception the need for the highest levels of both entrepreneurial and operational insight and expertise in early stage technology companies. The company adds significant sales & marketing, organizational and financial focus and capabilities to the inherent technology value of a portfolio member. Together the partners have consistently achieved very high levels of return from the organizations they have founded, developed and supported.

SETsquared helps early-stage, high-tech, high-growth potential ventures get on the road to success. Since starting up in 2002 it has supported more than 120 ventures, approximately 25% spinning out of the partner Universities, 15% coming from multinational corporates and the remainder from the local business community. In the last 12 months the University partnership has realised three AIM flotations and a number of trade sales. A partnership between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, SETsquared is the largest government-funded, privately-backed support programme of its kind in the UK. It provides serviced office space, business guidance and mentoring as well as access to a qualified high-calibre network of experienced entrepreneurs, potential investors and business professionals. Much of SETsquared’s success comes from the unique way it brings together the research strengths of the universities and private sector commercial expertise.

TLT Solicitors is one of the largest law firms in Bristol and one of the top 100 in the UK with offices in Bristol and London. We are a young and forward thinking firm that has seen rapid growth. We are a large firm with over 400 staff who can offer you a broad range of expertise. Our people have specialist skills in many areas of law including banking, commercial, corporate finance, dispute resolution, employment, pensions, insolvency, IT, real estate and tax. Many of our clients are nationally based and some are international. We have links with other law firms throughout Europe so we can provide high quality and good value legal services in other European countries. But it's the way we work that sets us apart. We take the time to get to know our clients, work in partnership with them and are always striving for the best results.

About the Media Partner
BusinessXL, published by Vitesse Media, helps CEOs and owner managers to grow their companies faster and ensure that a significant part of the value created can be enjoyed by the people running the business. Editorial style is both inspirational and practically helpful. Business XL is written by leaders for leaders. The magazine is a fount of inside information and knowledge, which can only be delivered by people who have started, bought and grown their own business. Many of the features are based on detailed, in-house research among Aim, Ofex and venture capital-backed companies only available to Business XL readers. This research gives readers a head start on raising venture capital and floating successfully on the stock market.

About the Marketing Partner
NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) investing in innovators and working to improve the climate for creativity in the UK. Established in 1998 and set up with an endowment from the National Lottery (£200 million, raised in 2003 to £250 million), NESTA invests the interest to support UK innovation. Since May 2000, when the programmes first opened, NESTA has spent over £73m (to March 05) on programmes supporting 712 awards.

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