Venue boss behind £30m tech startup enterprise
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.
Paul Rous, manager of wedding and function venue Bruisyard Hall, near Framlingham, launched early stage tech fund, Fuel.Ventures, with discount website founder Mark Pearson, who made £55 million selling MyVoucherCodes.co.uk to mobile payment firm Monitise last year.
Mr Pearson, 34, a former Claridge’s chef who bought the domain for £300 in 2006, has since invested some £5m in ventures including e-commerce solution firm, Ve Interactive. He and Mr Rous aim to raise £30m to invest between £50,000 and £1m in startups which will then work from Fuel.Ventures’ Soho offices.
They are currently seeking investors to join the project, established as a Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund, offering several attractive tax relief incentives.
Mr Rous, who worked at Goldman Sachs and UBS, has experience with startups across a number of sectors and is keen to work with Suffolk investors and developing companies as part of Fuel.Ventures.
He believes that teaming up with Mr Pearson, who boasts a 70x return on investment (ROI) track record and has appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, will ensure that investments are made in the highest quality ventures.
Although the fund will be based in London, Mr Rous will remain in Suffolk, where he aims to offer local investors and companies a chance to connect with nationally recognised entrepreneurs and an international technology market.
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Fuel.Ventures will also be partnering with crowdfunding platform Seedrs to attract retail investors.
Mr Rous said: “Mark’s story is very compelling and quite inspirational for a lot of people. A 70X return on investment is virtually unheard of, and people are excited that Fuel.Ventures will be the first opportunity for external investors to get involved and share in Mark’s journey. For startup tech companies, it’s a chance to utilise his experience and network to hopefully emulate the success he has managed, especially within the highly beneficial EIS structure.
“Our region is home to a lot of bright people who may not realise that it’s possible to bridge the gap between rural Suffolk and creating a global business. It’s not easy but it is possible.”