British Design Fund announces first wave of funding recipients

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A portable rocking device that attaches to any pushchair has received BDF funding

The British Design Fund has announced the recipients of its first wave of backing from its fund of over £500k from over 160 individual investors since it launched earlier this year.

Both Rockit, a portable rocking device which can attach to any pushchair, pram, car seat or crib, and Calla Shoes, a new brand of stylish footwear for women who suffer from bunions will receive an as yet unspecified amount of funding.

An early stage investment fund for UK start-ups in the product design and manufacturing spaces, the British Design Fund was set up by John Mathers, ex-CEO of the Design Council, and design entrepreneur Damon Bonser, after successfully reaching its crowdfunding target earlier this year, with over 100 companies registering to apply for funding since launch.

Calla Shoes, a new brand of stylish footwear for women who suffer from bunions


Bonser, said: “Start-ups like Rockit and Calla Shoes represent the best of British business, creating exceptional new design-led products that deliver genuine value to their users. We’re delighted to be supporting their development and growth.

“The UK has the second largest design sector in the world, yet there is an astonishing lack of equity funding into early stage product design and hardware businesses. Most product start-ups rely on innovation grants and crowdfunding platforms to get their first products off the ground – if they’re lucky.

“The British Design Fund aims to fill that gap and help entrepreneurs significantly increase their chance of success in what’s become a highly competitive sector.”

Mathers added: “During my role at the Design Council, I saw just how fast the UK’s design sector is growing – not just in size but in its contribution to the UK economy.

“With almost £72bn generated in 2015 alone, it makes no sense why early stage funding is so low for this market. That’s what inspired me to help address this problem and join Damon in launching The Fund.”

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