Author Archives: Bill Henderson

Crowdfunding – A Cautionary Tale

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 13.37.20


“We lost 40pc of our orders because of a payments glitch but Kickstarter wouldn’t help us” :  Little Riot founder Joanna Montgomery

“No one ever talks about their bad experiences on Kickstarter,” says Joanna Montgomery, the 28-year- old boss of consumer technology start-up Little Riot. “It’s seen as the Holy Grail and you never hearthe other side.”

Kickstarter, arguably the world’s most famous crowdfunding platform, has helped fund more than 100,000 different campaigns throughout its lifetime, raising $2bn for projects and products since it was launched in 2009.

It has been the springboard for many start-up success stories, from the Pebble smartwatch, which raised $10.3m in 2012 – it was seeking to raise just $100,000 – to the MaKey MaKey, an inventor kit that lets people hook up non-tech materials like Play-Doh to a computer, which raised $570,000 and is now shipping all over the world.

The Telegraph

Aurora funds bright people

Welcome to Aurora – one of Scotland’s leading business angel groups

Based in North-East Scotland we offer our members carefully selected opportunities for investment.  We look for companies with great ideas and bright experienced people to make them work.  Our members are every-day people from all backgrounds who consider that some of their funds could benefit be invested in high-growth businesses for significant returns.

We also welcome people who are interested in helping or getting involved with high-growth businesses to join our Network at no cost and with privacy ensured). Register

Get emails on new opportunities to help high-growth companies.

Since 2003 Aurora in Aberdeen has developed a strong track record:

  • Members themselves have invested a total of £2 million in 20 companies
  • Hundreds of investment opportunities reviewed annually
  • Last significant investments made in 2014
  • Annual fee is a function of funds invested via Aurora and reviewed annually
  • Aurora members and Network provide expertise for executive and NXD positions

Aurora’s website Members Area describes current deals, opportunities, and declined proposals – any of which members can follow up.  Find out about joining Aurora here.

If you are interested but don’t necessarily want to invest, you can join the “Aurora Network“, a free-to-join group of individuals and organisations interested in hearing about or supporting emerging companies as executives or directors.
Contact us


A major player as commercial lawyers both at home and internationally, Stronachs are renowned for their interest and expertise in providing legal services to emerging, established, and large global organisations.

Contact Details:  34 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1FW                   Tel: 01224 845845                       website:

SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme)

A new government incentive aims to help UK start-ups and young companies. It starts on 6th April 2012.  If you are an Investor, have a look to see if this will be applicable to the businesses into which you are investing. There has been a similar incentive around for some time now (EIS) but the SEIS specifically targets new companies. The details will come out in the Chancellors budget speech next week (21st March 2012), but these are the basic points:

  • The business must be new, or 2 years old or less, with fewer than 25 employees. It must have less than £200,000 of gross assets and not quoted on a stock market.
  • Directors or executives cannot use the scheme to invest in their own companies.
  • You can raise up to £150,000 of funding through the SEIS, but mustn’t have already raised any money under EIS or venture capital trust (VCT) schemes. This is in total not per year.

An Investor can have up to 30% of a share in the business under this scheme. The SEIS makes it attractive for an Investor to fund a start-up because of the number of tax reliefs that they would receive:

1. Investors can claim back income-tax of 50% of the amount invested.

2. An Investor can have a ‘capital gains tax holiday’. Capital gains tax (CGT) can be avoided on any asset sold during the financial year 2012-2013 as long as they reinvest the proceeds in a SEIS eligible start-up in the same year.

3. The combined effect of the CGT holiday and the income tax break gives relief of up to 78% in the first year.

The final details are still to be published but this should whet your appetite. It’s well worth while finding out more about the scheme either to make your new business attractive, or to maximise your investment returns.

Glacier Energy Services Holdings Limited

Glacier Energy Services Holdings Limited is a leader in the design and manufacture of precision on-site portable cutting machines and a specialist provider of weld overlay and cladding services to the oil and gas industry. Website:

Glacier is one of the companies that has received investment from the Simmons Parallel Energy Fund.

Simmons Parallel Energy Fund

Aurora invested in 2009 and the fund is now closed to new subscriptions. Administered under the auspices of Simmons International, the fund is focused on buy-out and growth capital opportunities through minority co-investments in private companies and private placements for publicly listed stocks in Europe and the Eastern Hemisphere with independent investors, industry investors and private equity firms.  Website:

The Fund’s portfolio companies are:

Electro-flow Control Group Limited  provides drilling and marine instrumentation products globally predominately to the rig upgrade market. It also provides product guidance systems and onshore, subsea, nuclear and renewables handling and lifting.  Website: 

Red Spider Technology Limited is a downhole technology company that provides tools and engineers to the well intervention and completions market.  Website:

Flexlife Group Limited provides integrity management and engineering services for flexible risers and pipelines and also provides subsea engineering and project management services. Website:

Xodus Group Limited provides engineering, subsurface, safety and environmental services to the global upstream oil and gas industry.  Website:

Glacier Energy Services Holdings Limited is a leader in the design and manufacture of precision on-site portable cutting machines and a specialist provider of weld overlay and cladding services to the oil and gas industry. Website:

CytoSystems has a simple, effective, quick and low-cost diagnostic tool for bladder cancer

Cytosystems Ltd, a Scottish-based company, has developed unique urine-based screening and diagnostic solutions to detect cancer of the bladder. Specificity and sensitivity are both 98%.  comprising:

    • Urine collection protocols
    • Patented cell harvesting device
    • MCM protein antibody
    • Patented staining technology
    • Thin slide preparation
    • Digital cell recognition software

The tests can replace invasive, distressing and expensive endoscopic test procedures. Independent research has confirmed that successfully introducing a nurse-managed diagnostic solution of this type into the clinic could enable earlier, more accurate diagnosis, improve patient care, enhance outcomes and greatly reduce associated healthcare costs by as much as 50%.

The core MCM technology was developed over a twelve-year period by Cancer Research UK at Cambridge University.