Very simply, Nova Pangaea is a cleantech business that has created a revolutionary process to convert woody and agricultural plant residues into sustainable biocarbons, biopolymers, biochemicals and biofuels. It displaces the need for industry to use fossil based products.
It is a process and product that is attracting interest from across the globe.
Multi-national companies are at their door, because of what they offer, as the whole world moves towards decarbonisation.
Sarah Ellerby, the CEO, was quick to point out that there is a funding gap in the early-stage ‘scale-up market. She said ‘there’s lots of funding support for start-ups and then support from the larger venture capital companies and Venture Capital Trusts once revenues hit £1m+ per annum, but there is a gap in between. Par Equity have been tremendous as they backed us near the start and have kept on supporting us. Not just with money, but in helping to develop the strategy and assisting develop our network within specific sectors. They have gone far beyond what one would expect from an investor. Since I joined the company, Par have continued to invest throughout our scale-up journey. They have been our perfect partner for growth.’
Nova Pangaea are currently going through a further funding round of £3.5m. The purpose is to help them accelerate their growth and scale up the business prior to a potential IPO in 2022.
Par Equity has led the round, supported by the Northern Powerhouse, Cambridge Angels, and their Chairman, John McNeil (one of Par Equity’s operating partners).
Sarah said, ‘This funding will help us accelerate our strategic plan, including securing our first licence and first of a kind REFNOVA plant in the UK. It will also help us extend our range of partnerships, and to continue to innovate and grow our team. Currently we have 17 people, and I see this increasing over the next 18 months’.
Paul Munn from Par Equity said ‘Nova Pangaea has in many ways been a model EIS portfolio company. It has a ground-breaking idea with global applications. It is right on trend as the world seeks to live more sustainably. It has been a pleasure to work with the team and they have been very responsive to the help and support that we have been able to offer them.’
A CEO with a difference
The step from being the No 1 women’s Pool player in the world to CEO of a fast-growing cleantech company with a process that is now in global demand seems to be a giant leap. But the CEO in question doesn’t agree!
Sarah Ellerby won over 80 Pool tournaments in the UK, before going to live in the US for greater challenges. She said ‘It was really a natural progression. I have always wanted to be the very best at what I do, and that is the same in business as in sport. Working in sport I worked with several global brands, so I always looked at what value I could bring to them, before I looked at ‘what’s in it for me’. Striking mutually beneficial partnerships came naturally to me’.
While still playing Pool, Sarah started her own business consultancy, and then had several CEO roles across energy, natural resources and manufacturing.
With family back home in North Yorkshire, it became time to return to her roots, and she looked round to see what she could bring to the region. One of the reasons why she wanted to come back to Yorkshire is the amount of activity in the renewable energy and clean energy sectors. And so Nova Pangaea, right at the heart of the cleantech economy, was a natural choice. Sarah joined them in January 2020.
About Par Equity
Par Equity is a leading venture capital firm, based in Edinburgh, investing in innovative, high growth technology companies in the North of the UK. Since it was founded in 2008, Par Equity has invested more than £95m across 62 companies, leveraging a further £172m of capital from third party investors. Par’s investment focus is on enterprise technologies, and more specifically “deep tech”, i.e. companies with strong IP and technical expertise, including innovation across AI, photonics, energy storage, sensors, advanced materials, and nanotechnologies. The portfolio includes other rising stars like Current Health, Integrated Graphene, Qikserve, Cumulus and Novosound.
Par’s investment approach is to combine the professionalism and rigour of a venture capital manager with the skills and expertise of a broad base of individual investors who can add value throughout the investment life cycle. This investment approach has produced strong and consistent returns across 22 realisations to date, gaining UK wide recognition. Most recently Par won the “Highly Commended” award in the Best EIS Fund Manager category at the 2020 EIS Association Awards.