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The Shard to become real life 'Dragon's Den'

More than 20 of the UK's most exciting technology start-ups are set to bid for a collective £30m of investment in front of a live audience of investors at The Shard this month

(PresseBox) (Southampton, ) More than 20 of the UK's most exciting technology start-ups are set to bid for a collective £30m of investment in front of a live audience of investors at The Shard this month.

The 22nd floor of the iconic London landmark will be turned into a real life Dragon's Den as businesses providing technological solutions for everything from wrinkles to poor public transport in developing countries have just 10 minutes to pitch to the likes of Mercia Fund Management and Eden Ventures.

The event, Accelerating Growth, is organised by SETsquared, a business incubation programme run by a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. 2014 marks its 11th year of the showcase and the support of leading intellectual property firm Mathys & Squire has enabled Accelerating Growth to be held in the iconic Shard building.

SETsquared businesses have raised some £60m in investment in the last 12 months, a 100 per cent increase on last year, and Accelerating Growth aims to boost that figure by putting start-ups face-to-face with angel investors, venture capitalists, high net worth individuals and self-certified sophisticated investors.

Among the businesses pitching for investment are:
- Fourth State Medicine - which has invented a wrinkle-busting hand-held plasma pen for the cosmetic and wider medical markets
- Crowd Connected - which has developed a platform that gathers data from a crowd's smartphones to provide aggregated location insight to operators
- Inova Design Solutions - which has created a miniature wearable device that can monitor health and fitness performance and send the data wirelessly to smart phones and smart watches
- Ultrahaptics - which is the world's leading touchless haptics company

Simon Bond, Innovation Director at SETsquared, said: "The fact that businesses within our incubator have doubled the amount of funding they have raised in the last year proves there is real appetite for investors to partner with high growth potential technology companies. This positive outlook has created a real buzz around our event and we are hoping to add significantly to the amount we have helped our companies raise at Accelerating Growth."

Among the SETsquared companies to receive substantial investment in the last year is Brightpearl, which secured a $10m funding injection, led by new investor MMC Ventures, alongside participation from Quayle Munro and existing investors Eden Ventures and Notion Capital. The money has allowed the company to invest in its product and expand sales.

Of the companies that secured investment at last year's 10th anniversary showcase was Torqbak, which received £150,000 from Mercia Fund Management for its Twitter business as a direct result of pitching at SETsquared's investment showcase.

Over the last 12 years SETsquared has helped more than 1,000 businesses raise over £1bn in investment, figures that have contributed to it being named by the UBI as the top university business incubator in Europe and number two in the world.

SETsquared

SETsquared is a collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which partners in enterprise activities and collectively supports the growth and success of new business opportunities through spin-outs, licensing, incubation and education. The partnership also works with industry through research collaboration and consultancy.

In the last 11 years SETsquared has developed over 1,000 high tech start-ups that have generated some £1bn in investment. It is named by the UBI as the joint best university incubator in Europe and 4th best globally.