The UK Creative Content EIS Fund, launched this summer by Calculus Capital and Stargrove Pictures in association with the British Film Institute (BFI), has made its first investment.
The fund, along with other Calculus funds, is investing in Wonderhood Studios, the creative business founded by former Channel 4 CEO David Abraham and senior partners from the TV production and advertising sectors.
Wonderhood is introducing a new hybrid model as a TV programme maker and advertising agency supported by a third capability which provides data-led insights into audience behaviour.
This year Wonderhood’s TV production studio has won multiple broadcast commissions: a BBC2 documentary featuring Heston Blumenthal due to be broadcast later this month (pictured above, ©Simon Roberts); a social media biography of Donald Trump for BBC3 and a cutting-edge medical science series for Channel 4. Series for BBC1 and Channel 5 are also in advanced development for 2020.
Wonderhood’s advertising studio won a competitive pitch to produce a campaign for Starling, the mobile challenger bank in 2020; it also recently worked with Nike on an initiative to recognise the contribution of black players to England’s national team; and earlier this year the company completed creative projects for Comic Relief and Karma Cola.
Wonderhood is uniquely positioned to combine its skills to develop, produce and distribute high quality long-form content that can reach audiences in new ways at a time when audience habits are changing radically.
Abraham said: “Wonderhood is a new kind of creative company focused on innovative content that impacts on culture. As we look to scale, the investment from the UK Creative Content EIS Fund helps us to deliver our plans faster and allows us to begin to explore the potential of scripted projects.”
The UK Creative Content EIS Fund was launched by Calculus Capital and Stargrove Pictures in June following a BFI report chaired by Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa. The report highlighted a shortfall in independent finance to help successful UK screen content companies scale up.
The fund has targeted an initial fund raise of £20m and is aiming to double a client’s investment, in addition to the tax benefits associated with EIS. Wonderhood will use the new money to build its team and develop new productions.
John Glencross, Chief Executive at Calculus Capital said: “The UK Creative Content EIS Fund is designed to help companies with high potential to accelerate their growth, recruit high quality executive talent and develop new content for production. The fund has an investment strategy covering premium creative content over multiple platforms and target audiences. People are fundamental to the success of any organisation and David Abraham’s experience, including growing Channel 4 revenues to £1bn, further increases our confidence in the continued success of Wonderhood Studios.”
Stephen Fuss, CEO of Stargrove Pictures, said: “Wonderhood has everything we’re looking for in an investment – a company with outstanding creative talent, great management, a slate of commissions and bags of potential. It’s also uniquely placed to apply its expertise across several areas – from advertising and factual entertainment to TV drama and documentaries. That opens up a host of opportunities for generating revenue and profit.”
Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive Officer of the BFI, said: “We are very excited about this first investment for the UK Creative Content EIS Fund. Wonderhood is exactly the type of innovative business that it has been established to support. Calculus has identified a strong pipeline of further investment opportunities, underlining our view that this fund will have a positive impact on the UK creative content industry.”
Wonderhood’s co-founder, Sachin Dosani is the former Managing Director and co-founder of Investment Bank ACF. He said: “Calculus is one of the UK’s most respected EIS fund managers. Its association with the BFI and Stargrove created a compelling proposition and natural choice for Wonderhood when we were selecting our funding partner for the next stage of growth.”