Catalyst Venture Partners Takes Technology Innovators from Zero-to-Hero

3/17/2005 - Catalyst Venture Partners, the venture capital boutique specialising in advising technology companies on fast-track investment and growth, has announced “Zero-to-Hero: The VC Challenge”, a new competition for technology innovators. Twenty “winning” companies will gain a place on a one-day fast-track investment event, to be held at the Williams Formula 1 Conference Centre in Oxfordshire, where they will have the opportunity to interactively evaluate their business plans with five leading venture capital companies.

The “Zero-to-Hero” fast-track investment event is being run in conjunction with sponsoring companies that includes technology lawyers Osborne Clarke, innovation incubators SETsquared (a collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey), the venture capital fund Eden Ventures, and HSBC bank. The event is open to all early-stage technology companies.

The event will take the form of a one-day workshop that will focus on key issues such as developing a fast-track growth strategy, structuring the management team, how to raise funding and negotiating a funding deal. The 20 winners will have the opportunity to interactively evaluate their business plans with five leading venture capital investors - Matrix Private Equity Partners, Foresight Venture Partners, South West Ventures Fund, Octopus Asset Management and Eden Ventures – who collectively manage over £300 million of investment funds. In the light of what they have learnt during the workshop, the companies will have a week to reappraise their business plans and submit a revised Executive Summary from which an overall winner will be chosen. The CEO of the overall winning company will take part in a Williams Race Day.

To enter, companies need to send an Executive Summary of their business plan by 25 April 2005 to Zero-to-Hero, Catalyst Venture Partners Ltd, 7 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2PH or email it to

Commenting on the announcement of the Zero-to-Hero: The VC Challenge, Chris Brigden, a partner at Catalyst Venture Partners said: “Structuring and shaping companies for fast growth and a planned exit is a complex and difficult challenge. Most require substantial advice and support to achieve a high exit value. Taking the right strategic and tactical actions relies as much on managerial and operational strength as it does on ideas and vision. More importantly, it requires significant funding that can only be secured by creating strong investor appeal through the demonstration of real substance. This event should help companies understand what they need to do to get funding and increase their likely success.”

“Zero-to-Hero” is part of Catalyst Venture Partners’ established and successful Accelerator Programme. This is a 6 to 12 month programme that prepares technology companies for investment. Companies graduating from the Accelerator Programme will have fast-track access to investors and be able to get their products to market faster.

About Catalyst Venture Partners
Catalyst Venture Partners was founded in 1999 when a group of technology entrepreneurs got together to create a networked accelerator and specialist corporate finance boutique. The genesis of the company lay in the partners’ experience as private investors who regularly came across technology companies, frequently with great intellectual property, who were seeking funds but who were lacking the necessary commercial expertise and management firepower to be credible to potential sources of finance. Catalyst is based in Bath and works with companies across the South of England and Wales. The Catalyst team bring personal experience from the worlds of running fast growth technology companies, strategy consulting, and venture capital. The company recently launched its own £300 million Funding Partnership with Matrix Private Equity Partners, Foresight Venture Partners, South West Ventures Fund and Octopus Asset Management.

About the Sponsors
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.

HSBC Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, and a member of the HSBC Group. Serving over 110 million customers worldwide, the HSBC Group has approximately 9,800 offices in 77 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$1,277 billion at 31 December 2004, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local bank'.

Osborne Clarke is a UK-based international law firm with offices in Bristol, Reading and London. Voted 'Technology Law Firm of the Year in 2001 and 2002 (European Technology Forum), Osborne Clarke's lawyers offer advice on all legal issues affecting the technology sector including fundraising, corporate transactions and commercial contracts. Proud to represent both young, ambitious companies in addition to well-established larger technology organisations, Osborne Clarke lawyers have a down-to-earth commercially sound approach, ensuring that clients receive relevant and coherent advice in a language they can understand.

SETsquared supports early-stage, technology, high growth potential ventures both from within and outside the universities. It helps these ventures make the vital, yet often difficult move from initial ideas to business start-up and the key to its success lies in the combination of the research strength of the universities and private sector commercial experience. SETsquared provides:

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