Anti-stretch mark technology receives £400,500 funding
April 18, 2014
A business which has developed a revolutionary product to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy has received £400,500 in equity funding from The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact.
The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, a substantial pot of money jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank and available to invest in small and medium sized businesses in the North West of England to support their start-up, development and growth.
Stuff of Life, which will be moving to Merseyside and creating ten jobs over the next two years, has developed ‘Liforma’, the first clinically proven preventative product to reduce the incidence of stretch marks during pregnancy which affects 70 to 90 per cent of pregnant women globally.
The Liforma ‘Total Stretch Mark Support’ system includes three products – ‘The Stretch Mark Support band’ which is worn during the day over the pregnancy bump, a day gel and a night cream. The support band uses a revolutionary technology called ‘vector alignment’ which holds skin in place so stretch marks are unable to form.
The funding will be used to finalise and safeguard patents, complete regulatory work, appoint fulfilment partners and create and implement an online and social media strategy for the launch to women who are 12-16 weeks pregnant and healthcare professionals.
Sophie Hooper, chief executive officer at Liforma said: “We are delighted that SPARK Impact has invested in Liforma. They share the company’s belief that the product will be a ‘must have’ for every woman who is pregnant and is concerned about getting stretch marks, and fully support our go-to-market strategies in the UK and the US.”
Dr Penny Attridge, investment director at SPARK Impact said: “The Liforma team has worked extremely hard to come up with a unique and clinically proven healthcare product to combat the global problem of stretch marks during pregnancy.
“The investment will provide the boost they need to thrive and we wish them every success in rolling out the commercialisation of the product.”
Liforma is the 47th investment for The North West Fund for Biomedical to date.
The North West Fund for Biomedical and SPARK Impact
The £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, which is provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England.
The North West Fund for Biomedical, which was launched in February 2011, is accessible to a broad range of companies including those developing pharmaceuticals, new diagnostics and medical devices, and those working in the fields of clinical research, contract manufacturing and analytical services. It is open to companies based in, or prepared to relocate to, the North West of England, with 40% of the fund to be invested on Merseyside. It is expected that the fund will invest in over 50 businesses. It has already received over 200 applications and made over 30 investments to date. For more information about the fund and how to apply please visit www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk
The North West Fund
The North West Fund is a substantial evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding (from £50,000 to £2 million) to small and medium sized enterprises based in, or relocating to, the North West of England. The North West Fund addresses an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets. It is one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe and the largest in the UK.
The North West Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the European Commission’s Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative – otherwise known as the JEREMIE programme.
The North West Fund is the umbrella name for the six funds that are available to businesses in the form of debt, equity and quasi-equity. These funds are managed by five fund managers under contract with North West Business Finance Limited (NWBF), which has been established to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund. Initially, £150m has been allocated to the fund managers, as outlined below, with a further £5m to be allocated in due course:
Name of fund
Enterprise Ventures Ltd
FW Capital Ltd
Enterprise Ventures Ltd
Spark Impact Ltd
CT Investment Partners LLP
Energy & Environmental
AXM Venture Capital Ltd
Digital & Creative
Funding to be allocated in due course
Each fund manager has a mandate to invest their allocation into the specific product or sector they manage, until 31st December 2015. NWBF is a private, not for profit company, established to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund.
Between December 2010 and February 2014 The North West Fund has invested over £80m in more than 250 businesses. Further funding has also been earmarked to support these businesses as they grow and many more new investments are planned over 2014 and 2015.
The JEREMIE initiative offers EU Member States, through their national or regional Managing Authorities, the opportunity to use part of their European Union (EU) Structural Funds to finance small and medium-sized enterprises by means of equity, loans or guarantees, through a revolving umbrella fund. The initiative was developed by the European Commission and the European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Investment Bank Group.
JEREMIE provides for a range of debt and equity financial tools to obtain the most appropriate allocation of funds according to national, regional or local requirements.
ERDF in the Northwest
ERDF is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. The current ERDF programme, which is worth €755 million, is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment.
The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financing institution and, provides long-term finance for capital projects promoting European economic objectives. The EIB made its first loan in the UK in 1973 and since then has lent around €75bn for investment in the UK economy. In the years from 2004 to 2009, the EIB financed investment in the UK totalling some € 23.5bn – GBP 17.5 billion.