Providing growth equity to early stage companies through the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund

Institution: Cass Business School

Business School Lead: Helen Reynolds


The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund is a £10 million venture capital fund, providing growth equity to early stage companies. The Fund targets high growth businesses with revenues of £100,000 upwards at the initial stage. The Fund was established in 2010 with the generous support of Peter Cullum CBE, one of Cass's most successful entrepreneurs. It is led by Helen Reynolds, who has worked in venture capital and early stage finance for 15 years at organisations such as YFM Equity Partners and Grant Thornton.

The Fund currently has 8 companies in its portfolio, 7 of which are wholly or partly based in London. It is actively seeking to grow this portfolio considerably over the next four years. The Fund also provides flexible deskspace for some businesses. Accutrainee and Frontier, two current portfolio companies both founded by Cass alumnae, currently work out of the Fund’s workspace at Cass. The Fund’s first investment was into alva and its most recent investment was into Raremark.

alva is a technology company that analyses publicly-available content to create decision-ready intelligence for the largest companies in the world. The firm provides practical insight and actionable intelligence for senior company management, derived from real-time analysis of print, online, broadcast and social media as well as financial analyst reports, parliamentary briefings and publicly-available polls and surveys. The business is led by Cass MBA alumnus, Alberto-Lopez Valenzuela, and counts fellow Cass MBA alumnus Richard Fleming, as well as UCL alumnus Alastair Pickering, among its founding management team. Following investment from the Fund in 2010, alva has grown from a start-up of three people based in a Farringdon basement to a multi-million pound organisation employing over 35 people at its Southwark headquarters and a further five at its recently-opened New York office. alva’s intelligence is used by over 35% of the FTSE 100 and a growing number of Fortune 500 companies.

Raremark is an online platform providing trusted and verified information to the rare disease community. The company uses a proprietary platform to index scientific articles and medical guidelines, offering patients and stakeholders insight into the latest research and thinking in their disease area. Users of the platform can comment and share knowledge, and connect with specialist centres to learn more about the latest research and treatments in development. Raremark was founded by Julie Walters, a former journalist who holds a first class degree in molecular genetics from Kings’ College London.  The company also runs Tudor Reilly Health, a digital patient recruitment and retention specialist that has supported clinical trials in diabetes, schizophrenia and many other disease areas.  Tudor Reilly is led by Peter Coë, a communications professional with 25 years’ experience in journalism for the BBC, ITV and Sky News and a further 12 years with the life science industry. The Fund invested in Raremark in April 2016 and the company expects to grow its London staff from 17 to over 30 within the next twelve months, and more than double 2015 revenues by December 2016.

Contact: Helen Reynolds, Investment Director,