The Virtual Technology Cluster Group has partnered with blockchain-based investment marketplace technology Funderbeam to help high-growth SMEs raise capital.

VTC, which is paid by sponsors to run centres which help multinationals attract emerging and disruptive innovators, will also raise its own capital on the Estonia-based platform as it seeks to open further specialist clusters.

The first two of these are the Leidos VTC – which has a cyber security focus and is sponsored by Unilever, Dell EMC and PA Consulting – and the Deloitte Healthcare Virtual Technology Cluster.

Members ranging from university projects through to start-ups, SMEs and public companies have access to “scale-up support and commercial mentoring” and do not have to pay membership fees, while no money is taken from the smaller firm’s bottom line.

The first step in a long-term partnership with Funderbeam now gives members the opportunity to raise investment from a growing global investor base – a “borderless liquid marketplace”. 

“Our new model is going to allow us to create real value – for growth companies, for blue chips, for UK PLC, for our investors, and for us,” said VTC Group CEO Auriol Stevens.

“By connecting small companies with corporate opportunities, we have a unique insight into their businesses and we are going to use this to stimulate growth.

“We are very excited to be raising capital on Funderbeam’s innovative platform – a perfect demonstration of how technology is changing every aspect of business.

“With the growing adoption of our cluster methodology and new governmental contracts, 2017 will be a very busy year.” 

London-based VTC has also agreed a pilot scheme with a global pharmaceutical company to find innovative technology-enabled solutions to fast-track innovation from its supply chain.