Fostering Water Innovation in Scotland


Investment Opportunities for Water Technology Companies – 27th May 2019

This factsheet provides information on sources of potential financial investment for start-up and fast-growing water technology related companies.  Please note that this information and sources are subject to change and may not be comprehensive.

Innovation and investment often operate hand in hand.  A company developing and commercialising a new, innovative product often requires investment finance to provide cash flow as a company develops, tests, markets and then grows their business.

There is a range of online information and guidance and this can be supplemented with discussions with Scottish Enterprise who can assist with navigating the market and signposting you to the most appropriate funders or advisers.

Enterprise Agencies

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise can help companies to identify appropriate sources of finance, engage with funders and to secure investment to grow their business.

Our financial readiness experts can help you to:

  • Identify your growth funding requirements
  • Source and raise the right growth funding from the right funder
  • Prepare your business to successfully access these funds
  • Pitch to investors

There are a range of financial business guides to help you.

Scottish Enterprise (SE) through  Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) actively co-invests in companies with high growth potential that are having a positive impact on the economy of Scotland.   SE can invest between £10,000 and £10m in partnership with private sector investors.

  • Scottish Co-investment Fund – match funding for SMEs into equity (shares) up to £1.5m.  Deals must be brought to SE by an accredited co-investment partner.
  • Scottish Venture Fund – gap funding (other private investors must be involved) up to £2m for SMEs seeking to develop products or markets.
  • Energy Investment Fund (EIF) – flexible investment and debt financing for companies and community groups delivering projects to support the low carbon transition.
  • Scottish-European Growth Co-investment Programme – up to 50% match funding (equity) for ambitious SMEs looking to raise over £2m for growth or exports.
  • Scottish Loan Scheme – loans of £250k to £2m for established growing companies requiring working capital, capital expenditure, growth funding, international expansion or marketing investment.

SE through SIB also has several investment funds which are managed by external third parties.  In the context of water related opportunities the most relevant is:

  • Maven UK Regional Buyout Fund – private equity funding £5 to £15m for management buy-outs.

Other Support: Summary Table

Please note that this list in not exhaustive, and is subject to change

Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE)

An annual technology investor showcase held in Edinburgh for data driven technology companies – including energy, clean tech and smart cities –  seeking funding from seed to series A.  A competitive pitching opportunity in front of investors.  Apply by November, event in April.

Climate KIC

European competition to support innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  Water companies have previously had success in this.  The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) is the Scottish partner with its annual Climate Launchpad.  Winners receive pitch coaching and access to ECCI’s Accelerator and up to 10,000 euros.  The Accelerator Incubator programme provides seed funding and advice to low carbon start-ups.


Shell’s Smarter Future Programme offers one young entrepreneur per month, £5,000 for innovative ideas relating to transport, food, energy or natural resource challenges.

Shell Springboard is an annual competition for SMEs, offering £150,000 to 1 successful applicant and £40,000 to 5 runners-up for innovative ideas relating to low carbon business ideas.

European Water Campus Business Challenge

5 days training for talented entrepreneurs (start-ups and PhD students) followed by a pitch to water experts and investors.  Annual event, last hosted by Wetsus, the European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, in the Netherlands, March 2019.

Blue Invest *

Blue Invest is an annual matchmaking event, organised by the European Commission, to bring together innovators and the financial community to boost the economic potential of the ocean while protecting its marine resources.  Innovators can pitch in front of investors.  Last event was held in Malta in January 2019. 

* this is an EU funded project. Future participation for UK companies is uncertain


Growth capital for cleantech, climate and circular economy.  They organise an Investment Academy and invite certain companies to quarterly pitch events to investors. Both services are chargeable.

They manage the Greenbackers Cleantech Fund, in partnership with Innvotec Ltd, to invest in companies with strong revenue growth.

Green Angel Syndicate

A network of investors who are committed to the transition to a greener economy.  Support early stage technology companies developing products and solutions for a more efficient and sustainable use of global resources.

They hold events and five pitch events per year where five companies present their case to raise early-stage capital to develop their business.  This is chargeable.  Investments are typically £150-500k.

Bluetech Research

Bluetech Research provides water technology market intelligence for investors and technology companies.  The Bluetech Forum provides a platform for 12 pre-selected innovators to showcase their technology in front of investors. This is chargeable.


Isle is an independent technology and innovation consultancy that brings together technical and commercial specialists to facilitate relationships including investment. Their focus is across water, waste, built environment, energy and carbon.

Their Technology Approval Group (TAG) is an innovation form for technology end-users and provides a platform for innovative companies to engage with end-users and investors.  This is chargeable.

Cleantech Group

Cleantech Provides information and research on innovation, including agriculture, energy, resources and environment.  They organise an annual Cleantech Forum in Europe (Stockholm, May 2019) and the USA (San Francisco).   This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to meet.  This is chargeable. 

Green Investment Group (was the Green Investment Bank)

Specialise in investment in green infrastructure, project delivery and the management of portfolio assets.  They can provide debt to equity support at all stages of the project lifecycle, development, construction and operations.

They invest in large scale infrastructure projects including established technologies like offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, hydro, inter-connectors, waste and biomass, as well as emerging technologies like tidal, biofuels, energy efficiency, storage, low carbon transport, smart grid, district heating.

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