Midlands Engine Investment Fund I (MEIF 1) Impact Report

MEIF Impact Report - Header

Empowering Growth, Fostering Diversity, Driving Innovation


Midven, part of the Future Planet Capital Group, managed the MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund to support high growth businesses in the region with equity financing. The fund completed in December 2023, with 49 investments made in total. This is a comprehensive overview that encapsulates the transformative journey of MEIF, showing its effect on the economic, societal, and innovative landscapes of the region. Through strategic investments and unwavering commitment, Midven has become an instrumental force for opportunity, fostering a dynamic ecosystem where businesses flourish and communities benefit.

MEIF Impact Report - Investments:Impact

Empowering Employment:

Investments from MEIF have spurred remarkable employment growth across the region. Data insights reveal a substantial increase in job opportunities within businesses supported by MEIF investments. Significantly 432 direct roles have been created by Midven’s investments since the fund’s inception, contributing to the socio-economic fabric of the Midlands. These roles span diverse sectors, encompassing positions in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and beyond, reflecting the multifaceted impact of MEIF investments. 

One of the first MEIF exits, Natural HR joined Midven’s portfolio in 2016 with investment from the Early Advantage Fund along with support from private investors. MEIF investment followed in 2019 and 2021 when the company’s needs grew beyond the capacity of the Early Advantage Fund. During the seven-year partnership, the HR software provider saw significant growth, creating more than 50 jobs in the Birmingham region. Natural HR also grew annual recurring revenue 45 times over between first investment and exit. This growth in annual recurring revenue is a significant indicator of the success of the investment and the strength of Natural HR’s positioning.

MEIF Impact Report - NaturalHR

According to Sarah Dowzell, Director at Natural HR “Working with Midven and securing funding from MEIF has been instrumental in facilitating our growth journey. Their financial support enabled us to expand our operations, create meaningful employment opportunities, and significantly increase our customer base. This partnership has been pivotal in positioning Natural HR for sustained success in the dynamic landscape of HR technology

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion:

Midven recognises the paramount importance of fostering diverse leadership teams within the businesses it supports. Through MEIF investments, it has championed companies with inclusive leadership structures, facilitating opportunities for individuals from varied backgrounds. Success stories such as Ostique and Nylah’s Naturals underscore the transformative power of diverse leadership, showcasing exponential growth trajectories and the creation of employment opportunities for diverse talent. 

Recent investment into Ostique, an all-female led company is evidence of Midven’s real commitment to diversity and inclusion in the region. Ostique provides revolutionary ostomy-care products, delivering solutions that break down the stigma attached with this form of healthcare. Nylah’s Naturals, a Black and female-owned business, has developed a range of effective and natural hair products for afro hair, providing care and resources to an underserved community. 

Speaking with Kameese Davis, founder of Nylah’s Naturals, she explained “For me, Midven’s investment wasn’t just about funding—it was about belief. Their support validated my vision for Nylah’s Naturals, not only as a business but as a platform to empower women of colour in the haircare industry. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion isn’t just rhetoric; it’s woven into every step of our partnership.” As exemplified by these ventures, Midven stands as an advocate for diversity, driving tangible change within the entrepreneurial landscape of the Midlands.

Maximising Growth Potential:

Post-investment, Midven is committed to providing support to portfolio companies, ensuring their sustained growth and long-term success. Each investment is led by seasoned directors, who work hand-in-hand with company leadership to nurture talent, enhance operational efficiency, and position businesses for strategic exits. Case in point, Midven’s involvement in the exit-planning processes of companies like Natural HR and Sign Solutions exemplifies its proactive approach towards maximising shareholder value and fostering a culture of sustainable growth. 

Sign Solutions specialises in non-spoken Interpretation and translation enabling Deaf and hearing people to communicate and provide equal access to information, services and opportunities. The company also received investment from the MEIF in 2019. Since the initial investment, the company has gone from strength to strength. While a Midven portfolio company, Sign Solutions more than doubled its number of full-time employees from 17 to 36 – with a network of over 600 freelance BSL interpreters and translators. During the four-year relationship, the company also increased its revenue by 150%.

MEIF Impact Report - SignSolutions

Mark Wilcockson, senior investment manager at the British Business Bank said, “Post-investment, Midven’s dedication to supporting portfolio companies aligns seamlessly with the objectives of MEIF. As a key partner in driving economic growth and innovation in the region, the British Business Bank recognises the critical role that sustained support plays in ensuring the success of invested companies. Midven’s hands-on approach, led by seasoned directors, reflects a commitment to nurturing talent and fostering operational efficiency, ultimately positioning businesses for long-term success and strategic exits.”

Measuring Impact and Effectiveness:

The impact of MEIF investments delivers more than conventional metrics, encompassing economic development and innovation. Since its inception in 2017, 7 new products have been brought to market. These are products or services that nothing similar to existed before Midven’s portfolio company brought it to market. There have also been 26 “new to firm” products, meaning Midven’s investment helped the company release a new product they didn’t have before. One such example is OLPRO, the UK’s first B Corp certified camping brand. This innovative company has developed a technology that delivers durable and high quality tents, made out of recycled single-use plastic bottles.

When in Rome is the UKs leading alternative format wine producer. Its range of italian wines is packaged in eco-friendly and sustainable materials such as cardboard cartons and aluminium cans. Midven invested £375,000 in 2021 as the company already had secured listings with Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon. The MEIF funding allowed When in Rome to accelerate its growth by upscaling its marketing activities and expanding distribution. The investment also supported three key hires and two contractor roles.

Through robust measurement frameworks, Midven tracks key indicators such as job creation, product taken to market, and investment across the whole region, thereby gauging the overall impact of its investments. Its commitment to sustainable growth underscores the belief in creating lasting value for stakeholders, driving economic prosperity and societal advancement across the Midlands.

Charting the Future:

Midven remains steadfast in its commitment to driving innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the Midlands. The burgeoning landscape of AI and medical health technology presents unprecedented opportunities for growth and disruption, aligning seamlessly with its strategic focus areas. Additionally, its proactive stance on diversity and inclusion is built on its commitment to driving positive change within the investment ecosystem, propelling the Midlands towards a future defined by innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth.

In recent years, Midven has shown a notable interest in the field of MedTech, with a significant portion of its investments directed towards this sector. While a surge in investments occurred within the last 18 months of the MEIF, it’s essential to note that Midven’s engagement with MedTech companies has been long standing. This sustained focus is rooted in its recognition of the transformative potential inherent in healthcare innovation. This focus is aligned within the region, with the newly launched West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator, located in Edgbaston. This scheme is focused on providing entrepreneurs with the resources and support needed to drive impactful solutions.

Midven’s recent investments in MedTech reflect the culmination of years of observation, analysis, and industry expertise. It has observed a growing trend towards technological advancements in healthcare, and its proactive stance towards this sector aligns with the vision for driving innovation in high-potential markets.

A particular area of focus has been software solutions tailored for the healthcare sector. Notably, its investment in prescribing software, such as ScriptSwitch, has yielded substantial returns. More recently has been Midven’s investment into Birmingham based software development company, Capri Healthcare, which specialises in patient referral and automated triage solutions. This strategic emphasis on software aligns with Midven’s commitment to supporting scalable solutions that address critical needs within the healthcare ecosystem, ultimately driving positive outcomes for patients and providers alike.

According to Surjit Kooner, Investment Director at Midven: “Our interest in the MedTech sector stems from our belief in its transformative potential. Through years of work, both at Midven and throughout the region, we’ve witnessed the profound impact that healthcare innovation can have on improving patient outcomes and driving efficiency in the healthcare sector. Our recent investments in MedTech build upon this foundation, reflecting our commitment to fostering innovation in high-growth markets and driving positive change within the healthcare landscape.”

Launched last year, the innovative West Midlands Co-Investment Fund, managed by Midven, part of Future Planet Capital, is designed to build investment networks in the Midlands and fund high growth start-ups. Through this fund, Midven will continue to support founders in the region with MedTech solutions and more, whilst also facilitating co-investment with angel investors and other funds.


The impact of MEIF investments extends far beyond financial returns, encompassing a rich tapestry of socio-economic development, innovation, and inclusivity. Midven remains unwavering in its commitment to catalysing positive change within the Midlands, empowering entrepreneurs, and shaping a future defined by prosperity and opportunity. With the support of partners like the British Business Bank and West Midlands Combined Authority, Midven is poised to unlock new areas of growth and chart a transformative path.