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Angel CoFund makes 50th investment

The Angel CoFund has made a GBP250,000 investment into OwnFone, bringing the personalised phone company’s funding round to GBP786,000. 

The Angel CoFund’s 50th investment sees is fund co-invest with the London Business Angels, Renaissance Capital Partners and mobile expert Nigel Litchfield, who also joins the OwnFone Board.

Launched in November 2011, the Angel CoFund invests alongside syndicates of business angels, and has already invested over GBP22m alongside more than GBP90m from business angels and other investors, making it the most active early stage fund in the country. OwnFone is the 50th business to be backed by the CoFund, which has supported a diverse range of companies around the country, including:

• YPlan, the last-minute event booking app which is now live in London, San Francisco, New York and Las Vegas

• Gousto, the recipe-box delivery company that appeared on Dragon’s Den and has gone on to raise more than USD10m

• CrowdVision, the live crowd-analytics business that supported crowd management at the London 2012 Olympics; and

• Micrima, which is developing radiowave radar technology for medical imaging application in the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Founded in December 2013, OwnFone is the mini, light and low cost mobile phone, which is personalised to the owner. The size of a credit card, it is designed to connect the user to the most important people in their life and is perfect for children, older people or, with a year’s standby battery life, as an emergency second phone. All OwnFone’s are made-to-order from just GBP40, and will only call the numbers available on the buttons.

Nigel Litchfield, as the lead investor in this round, joins the OwnFone Board where he will work closely with the founders, Tom Sunderland, Chris Clark and Charles Tunnicliffe. Nigel brings with him significant telecoms experience, having held senior roles with Nokia Mobile Phones between 1990 and 2004, which includes a decade on the Board of Nokia Mobile Phones, overseeing product development and marketing between 1992 and 2002.

Nigel Litchfield, member of the Board at OwnFone, says: “We all acknowledge the near-global ubiquity of the smartphone, but this doesn’t mean such technology is the right product for everyone, all the time. In fact there are plenty of occasions when a smartphone – expensive, energy consuming and complicated – is an unnecessary hassle. The team at OwnFone have recognised this and I really look forward to working closely with them as we further develop this product and boost marketing efforts over the next twelve months.” 

Tim Mills, Investment Director at the Angel CoFund, says: “When launching in 2011 the aim of the Angel CoFund was to back promising British businesses and to support the UK’s angel investor community. Today’s announcement is a milestone for us – we have now invested over GBP22m into 50 British businesses, and facilitated more than  GBP90m from angels and others. We’re also setting aside a similar amount to support those same companies as they grow. OwnFone is the perfect example of businesses we look to back: innovative, ambitious and seeking to deliver something of real value to its customers. We look forward to working with Nigel and the OwnFone team.”

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