Profiling the portfolio companies getting ready for take-off

Thanks to careful selection and support from seasoned experts who know which start-ups have real potential and how to give them the best possible chance of success, the companies in the Stellar Nova EIS Fund investment portfolio are primed and ready for take-off.

From a revolution in asthma care to taking the aggravation out of conveyancing, Pierre Clarke, Head of Technical & Compliance, profiles three of the remarkable growth businesses you could be investing in through the Fund.

There are many great start-up businesses in the UK. But success often ends up being a lottery as enterprises with really good ideas fail to secure the financial backing they deserve or struggle to overcome the operational challenges of getting products into the market and scaling up capacity.

That’s why we set up the Stellar Nova EIS Fund differently. By partnering with specialist start-up studio Nova Growth Capital, portfolio companies are subjected to rigorous selection criteria to judge whether the idea has genuine commercial potential. Only then, does the funding and operational support kick-in.

At the heart of this selection process is a simple question: Does the proposed product or service offer a viable solution to an unmet need or problem. And when determining this, experience shows that the best people to come up with marketable solutions are professionals who work in a particular field and hence see the issues and how they could be resolved first-hand.

Although very different, the three companies profiled here all meet this critical test of investment potential:


Revolutionising asthma care

The problem to be resolved

More than five million people in the UK are receiving treatment for asthma. Nearly one in 20 people aged over 40 have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), though many more remain undiagnosed. The numbers of people affected by these conditions worldwide runs into hundreds of millions.

If managed well, people with asthma and COPD can live long and healthy lives. But attacks are common and potentially deadly. In the UK, one in three asthma sufferers experiencing severe attacks dies before help is called and a further one in ten dies before help arrives. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable. Little wonder then that the NHS long-term plan identified respiratory illnesses as one of the main clinical needs and a priority area in easing winter pressures in particular.

The problem is that the main way of gauging respiratory activity and detecting potential problems, the stethoscope, has barely changed in more than 200 years. Moreover, it only offers a snapshot of the lung’s health.

The solution

The Senti sensor offers a revolutionary way forward by monitoring and recording respiratory activity and health around the clock.

The comfortable and unobtrusive sensor alerts users, parents and carers to early warning signs of potential attacks and can therefore speed up response and prevent needless deaths. Data stored on the mobile app also provides detailed insights about respiratory health, enabling patients and physicians to determine whether medication is having the desired effect and improve long-term care, treatment and quality of life.

The founder

Senti was set up by Phil Alton, an experienced emergency care doctor. Phil has seen in his work the damage and threat to life that asthma and COPD can cause and is passionate about making a difference. He developed the smart sensor and app to bring care into the 21st century.

The commercial potential

The Senti smart sensor and app has estimated potential revenue in the billions for the UK and hundreds of billions globally. It can not only prevent needless deaths and improve care, but also reduce costs and cut waiting lists by allowing patients to be monitored remotely.

To find out more, check out the Nova portfolio spotlight.


Shaving weeks off the conveyancing process

The problem to be resolved

Anyone who has bought or sold a home knows how stressful, frustrating and needlessly drawn out (average 14-18 weeks) the conveyancing process can be.

“The issue is that we have a 19th-century process which isn’t fit for purpose for 21st-century clients. Traditional analogue processes do not fit comfortably with the digital age. With so many stakeholders involved in the selling or buying of a house, everyone is working away in their own silos but not necessarily together for the benefit of the end customer,” says Eddie Goldsmith, founder of YouConvey, the first collaborative conveyancing app.

The solution

YouConvey was set up to give home movers full control over the conveyancing process and save up to eight weeks waiting time.

Key features of the platform include allowing movers to carry out routine admin tasks themselves. This includes completing property forms, chasing up third parties, keeping on top of what’s going on and pushing anyone who is not responding in a timely fashion. Together this accounts for about 80% of the conveyancing process, which movers can do on their own terms. YouConvey staff are on hand to provide advice and support. The YouConvey website also includes a Knowledge Centre, which contains lots of valuable tips for home buyers and sellers.

YouConvey is not about DIY conveyancing – the company would not expect movers to negotiate legal documents or commit to a legal contract for the largest purchase in their life without relying on proper legal representation. While YouConvey offers greater control over the pace of the transaction, all the legal requirements are still carried out by an experienced conveyancer, so customers get the best from both worlds.

The founder

Eddie Goldsmith has more than four decades of experience as a conveyancer, having qualified as a solicitor in 1979. During this time, Eddie has built one of the largest conveyancing firms in the UK and forged a network of stakeholders and influencers in the industry.

Throughout his career, Eddie experienced for himself the length of time it took to complete a home sale and how much of a stressful experience it was – even with a standard transaction. Eddie has brought all this experience to bear in setting up YouConvey and developing an app to shorten the timescale and create more certainty for customers and introducers.

The commercial potential

The time saved and the chance to take control of conveyancing have immense commercial potential. The benefits for companies who use YouConvey include selling homes quicker and winning more listings than their competitors

“For me, it’s really about showing the industry that there is a different and better way of conveyancing, something which improves the customer journey and has a positive impact on conveyancers workload. I hope that YouConvey will reduce stress through collaborative conveyancing that embraces the digital innovations in the market for the needs of homeowners,” says Eddie.

To find out more, please see the interview with Eddie Goldsmith.


Second-hand pricing made easy

The problem to be resolved

Thrifting – buying second-hand clothing in charity and other second-hand stores –has grown in popularity on the back of people’s desire to not only save money, but also dress in an original way and reduce the carbon footprint of what they wear.

The problem is that the average charity store can receive up to 200 bags of clothing and other items a week. Sorting and pricing all this stuff can take ages. And without barcodes or commercial retail experience, how would you know exactly what to charge?

The solution

The Thrift app helps charity and other second-hand retailers quickly find the resale value of items and where best to sell them, leading to more sales and more revenue, while supporting the circular economy in a sustainable way.

The easy-to-use app works by analysing over a billion listings across sites including Depop, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace in under ten seconds. It then gives a recommendation for selling platform and price, and calculates a profit taking into account costs such as listing.

Users can find the resale price of any item in any condition. The app also informs sellers about what items they should be looking out for when stock sourcing.

The founder

Thrift was set up by Mark O’Hara in 2017. Mark’s background is in retail management, giving him valuable insights into both the commercial and environmental potential of faster and more efficient pricing. “We believe the future of resale commerce is reliant on transparency,” says Mark.

The commercial potential

The results from trials show that Thrift can make pricing more than 20 times faster, while enabling resellers to reduce rejection rates and earn 36% more. And the more second-hand items that are sold and reused, fewer go to landfill.

To find out more, check out the Nova portfolio spotlight.

An opportunity for your clients

If you would like to know more about the Stellar Nova EIS Fund and its portfolio companies, please get in touch with one of our team today on 020 3195 3500 or contact


Written by Pierre Clarke


Important Information

Stellar Asset Management Limited does not offer investment or tax advice or make recommendations regarding investments. Prospective investors should ensure that they read the brochure and fully understand the risk factors before making any investment decision. The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. No assurance or guarantee is given that any targeted returns will be achieved. Forecasts of potential future results are not a reliable indicator of actual future results.

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