Can you start by telling us a little about Capslock as a business?
CAPSLOCK is a revolutionary educational organisation that delivers career-changing cybersecurity courses entirely online. We help adults reskill via a curriculum we built in collaboration with some of the UK’s most significant cyber employers. We teach you the hands-on skills you need to land a high-paying job in cyber.
In the business model, there are no upfront costs to enrol. Instead, we take a percentage share of our graduate’s future income for 36 months once they earn over 27k. So we don’t get paid until our learners land their new jobs in cybersecurity. We have had such a wide variety of professionals come to us to retrain from Dancers to British Army Dog Handlers!
Where did your journey to Investment Start?
As a young founder, when I first started looking at equity funding and getting into the investment circles, the first thing that I noticed was that there wasn’t a lot of support out there. So to get involved in the programme and go to events in rooms with investors who tell you everything you need to know was so valuable.
We had the idea back in 2019, messed about for a while, then got serious in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 2020 after we got in touch with The Investment Readiness Programme and enrolled. Then the next 12 months after that, they were really helpful. One of the outcomes was an introduction to GC Angels, who are now one of our investors. We met one of our non-exec directors through GC angels, so it really got the ball rolling for us!
How are some of the ways that Investment Readiness have supported you?
The workshops are brilliant, and being in an environment with 4-5 investors being taught what interests them, the process looks like, how it works, and different types of funding is priceless. To get that amount of time from people who are actively investing is valuable. Particularly Robert and Chris, who were leading it, we are still in touch with them now and still get advice!
Certain things that were really beneficial was them reviewing our pitch deck. We send it to them, and they come back within a week, rip it to shreds in the nicest way possible and tell you where to improve! Then if you have a business plan you want looking over, or you’re having problems with intellectual property or copyright, you can get in touch with them.
What are some of the things you learnt from Investment Readiness?
100% the Business model canvas, I still use all the papers they gave us at the workshop; sometimes, if I forget about something I know, I can pull out this deck and take a look.
I think for us coming from a non-experience place, it really got the ball rolling in terms of this is how it works, this is the structure of the deals, these are the different types of investments. The most valuable outcomes were the introduction to the local North West Investor network. We’ve got GC Angels, which is fantastic, but also we have ongoing conversations with other Angels.
So, where are you now in terms of your journey with Investment?
We raised £140,000 in innovative UK grant funding, which again Investment Readiness helped us with, and then we got an investment offer from Maven Capital and the GC Angels!
So yes, £140,000 Innovate UK funding, we then closed a £350,000 equity round in march 2021 and then got a £50,000 bounce back the loan suggested by the team. So it gave us a nine-month funding runway to get off the ground and get live and operational post-revenue. The current investors we have around the table are raising £400,000, which is due to close next month, and then we will do another round in 2022!