Gravitywell Meets: Granted Consultancy
In this series, Hugo chats with some of the tech world’s most exciting startups and services. Next up is Sara Palmer, Head of Partnerships at Granted Consultancy, who help secure non-dilutive funding for innovative organisations making the world a better place.
Hey, Sara! So, why should a tech startup take notice of Granted?
The point of Granted was, and still is, ultimately to make innovative projects happen through unlocking non-dilutive funding, to help ideas become reality and to make the novel or new become normal. To offer good advice at the right time to help innovators succeed.
We see the potential for something better, closely monitoring the landscape so we can rapidly match innovative projects to worthwhile opportunities, sharing the thrill of the disruptive change whilst securing funds for those that have the conviction to ask if there’s a better way.
We take pride in the tangible impact our work has on individuals, businesses and the world.
Our team of 30+ experts understand the technicalities of a project and is dedicated to increasing your chance of funding success. Since 2010, we’ve secured £200m+ funding for our clients.
We know what it takes to be successful and we’re here to guide, advise and support you throughout your journey.
What’s been the biggest milestone in Granted’s journey so far?
- We’ve secured £200m+ funding for our clients — the tangible impact those funds have had on our clients, their projects, and their market is enormous.
- Granted began in a tiny cupboard in Exmouth, a small seaside town in Devon — fast forward 13 years and the company has been acquired by a billion-dollar US PE-backed corporate meaning even more opportunity to support our clients.
Very impressive. Granted is big on innovation — what do you think makes a project truly innovative?
Innovation is an overused term and it suffers from that. However, it’s a good thing that it’s overused because it shows people care about it, but not everybody understands it.
Innovation can be many things, and here are some of the ways the team describe innovation:
- Taking advantage of the opportunities that exist and, sometimes, that’s creating the opportunities yourself.
- A different perspective - an exciting, dynamic, breakthrough way of thinking.
- Making future tech normal - a part of innovation not covered often.
- Changing the world - making it a better, more sustainable place to live.
- Often applying a simple idea in a new way can be impactful.
There are four main types of innovation:
- Incremental: making small improvements to existing products, services and tools.
- Adjacent: entering a new market or appealing to a new audience by leveraging existing capabilities.
- Disruptive: technology or a new business model that disrupts the existing market.
- Radical: creation of a brand new product/ service that changes the circumstances of the brand.
Regular chats with Gravitywell aside, why is your partner network so important?
R&D grant funding involves a competitive and often time-consuming application process, involving a great deal of planning to define a project that meets the needs of the funder and is also attractive to investors to secure any necessary match funding, and inevitably further funding to scale.
It involves delving into all technical and commercial aspects; prototyping, design, understanding the entire market value chain, how to protect your IP, ensuring you have a scalable commercial model etc. This will more often than not involve engaging several experts, either as part of the project team, as subcontractors or advisors, or as part of a multi-consortia project.
Being able to matchmake our clients to the right contact — or networks where they can find experts and get exposure — is essential to both their project and wider commercial success.
Agreed! Right, what’s the best thing about working at Granted?
Obviously, we asked the team as they know best, and here’s what they said:
- Working with some of the best innovators in the world who have a profound social or environmental purpose
- Specific time set aside every week to give kudos to team members
- Being recognised and rewarded for our hard work
- Regular socials and fun days out together
- The diversity of grant writing; one week, it might be novel treatments for cancer, followed by food chain innovations
- The team are never afraid to help - they are bold but thoughtful, intelligent but humble, and candid but caring
- The unique emoji set we have on Slack (various team members' faces turned into memes 😁)
- The appetite to try new things
- Being a difference maker
- Seeing the impact innovation makes on the world gives us hope humans have the potential to solve some of the most significant challenges on earth today and thrive within an abundantly beautiful natural world
Love it. Our team Slack emoji of choice is the 🦞. No idea why. Okay, at what stage in their journey should an organisation reach out to Granted?
Grant funding can provide essential capital to derisk innovation projects, particularly where other types of funding are not yet viable. The best thing is for a company to consider where non-dilutive funding fits into its growth strategy from the get-go.
R&D grant funds support the development of novel technologies from TRL 1 (Basic Principle Observed) through to TRL 9 (Actual Technology Proven in Operational Environment), although the majority fall somewhere between TRL 3-7 i.e. concept proven before commercialisation. So the focus should be more on what stage the technology is at, rather than what stage the company is at since a company of any age or size could create a new technology project.
However, there are cons to consider with non-dilutive funding in that it is a lengthy process.
Firstly, the length of the project and timings of the fund will be specified in the scope of the grant applied for i.e. the competition will specify that it is for projects of 6-12 months in length that must not start before a certain date and must be completed before a certain date. Secondly, the application process is typically 3-6 months by the time you have designed the project, written the application, waited for results and then been through funder due diligence.
Great advice. Now, talk to me about the interplay between tax credits and grants
The UK government is committed to increasing investment into innovation, of which grants and R&D tax credits are two key direct benefits for SMEs carrying out novel R&D projects. It is essential to work with a specialised innovation funding consultant to ensure you are maximising your potential to claim the benefits you are eligible for.
RDEC (research and development expenditure credit) is a UK government tax incentive designed to support innovative companies investing in research and development (R&D). It is primarily used by large companies, but also by SMEs in some circumstances, such as if they’ve been awarded grant funding. This means that you can, in some circumstances, receive the further benefit on subsidised projects — a double non-dilutive funding win!
One of the benefits of RDEC claims is that they can be accounted for above the line in your income statement (also known as your profit-and-loss account), providing a positive impact on visible profitability in your accounts. This visibility has a positive impact on R&D investment decisions.
What new trends are you excited about in the funding world?
Innovation funding remains a hot topic with a record number of funds being released as the government remains committed to increasing its investment in making the UK a world leader in R&D. There has also been an increase in the types and structure of funding options available meaning more opportunities if you lock in innovation funding to your core strategy.
We’re seeing increases in committed support for sectors as diverse as Quantum Computing, Hydrogen, MedTech, AgriTech and FoodTech, whilst programs like IUK Smart continue to support innovation across all industries. Net Zero is a common theme throughout, with a growing focus on equality, diversity and inclusion — so it’s exciting to see increasing incentives for companies to really consider how they can create a wider impact environmentally and socially, as well as in economic terms.
Last but not least, what’s the best-kept secret in Exeter?
The quay, described as 'Exeter’s hidden gem', really is a gem. Especially in the spring/summer when the sun is glinting off the water, the atmosphere is buzzing and there’s some soft music playing in the background.
Chandos Deli, conveniently located opposite the Granted office — the best-toasted sandwiches — but you’ve got to get there early otherwise they’ll go! Also great coffee and cakes - especially the salted caramel brownie.
A huge thank you to Sara for being interviewed.