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Barclays launches UK banking first ‘Demo Directory’, a free online service for business founders to connect with investors


 Barclays has launched Demo Directory, a free online service for founders to showcase their business to potential investors to raise capital, helping to unlock growth across the UK

·       Barclays research finds over half (58 per cent) of founders surveyed say the costs associated have prevented them from seeking investment and almost half (49 per cent) feel that their business location has restricted their access to investor networks

·       Barclays Demo Directory launched 2 years ago in newsletter format, and Barclays analysis of applicants on the platform has found that 54% are from ethnically diverse backgrounds and 39% are female founders

 Barclays has launched the Demo Directory, a free online service open to UK businesses, regardless of who they bank with, for easy, cheaper and less time consuming access to capital by connecting them to a network of attested investors1.

The service, a first-of-its-kind for a UK bank, aims to help businesses seek investment opportunities that they previously may not have explored, which could help them through a difficult trading environment, or be used to grow their business. Barclays research2 reveals that two-fifths (42 per cent) of founders surveyed would use investment to expand their product and services ranges, 33 per cent hire more staff, and nearly the same amount would expand or upgrade their premises (32 per cent).

Barclays Demo Directory alleviates major barriers for many businesses seeking investment, as research shows that nearly half (49 per cent) of founders of high-growth businesses surveyed felt that their business location restricts their access to investors and funding and 58 per cent feel the costs associated with raising investment has prevented them from seeking sources of capital in this way. Demo Directory solves this with a free online platform to connect founders with investors from anywhere in the country.

After two years of Barclays Demo Directory running via newsletter format, analysis of data has found that the platform could be helping minority3 and previously underserved groups access investment4. Fifty-four per cent of applicants identified as being from ethnic minority backgrounds, 39 per cent female founders and nearly half (48 per cent) were based outside of the Golden Triangle (Cambridge, Oxford and London).

Barclays Demo Directory allows investors to sign up and review a directory of video pitches and answers to elevator pitch style questions with founders showcasing their businesses. Investors can search for investment opportunities by filtering businesses, for example by region or business size. Barclays Demo Directory service connects investors directly with any founders they want to explore further to discuss funding opportunities.

However, the research also found that economic uncertainty is impacting funding plans, as almost a quarter (24 per cent) of founders surveyed report that they have postponed a funding round due to the current economic environment. This is despite the same number (24 per cent) saying additional funding would help their business to manage bill increases and almost three in ten (27 per cent) saying this would help with cashflow challenges due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Benjamin Storey, Head of Demo Directory at Barclays, said: “Whether businesses are seeking investment to grow or to weather the increased cost of doing business, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to connect with those who can provide the capital they’re looking for.

“We’ve already seen there’s real appetite for the service. In the 24 months where we made business and investor connections through our newsletter version of the Demo Directory, 49 per cent of founders have raised money within the six months of being on the Demo Directory. What’s more, 48 per cent of the businesses showcased were located outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford. We can’t wait to see this grow further as we launch our online platform.”

To find out more about Demo Directory, or to apply to be featured, visit:

To find out more about Barclays’ support for businesses visit:


Case Study – Ape2o

An early beneficiary business of the Demo Directory service, Ape2o provides purified still and sparkling water vending machines, working to rid the world of single use plastic water bottles while providing 10 per cent of all sales to marine conservation projects worldwide. Ape2o signed up to the Demo Directory in its initial newsletter form in June 2022 and within weeks was contacted by an investor, who although did not invest directly, introduced Ape2o founder and CEO Anthony Newman to an investor who did.

Anthony Newman, Founder and CEO of Ape2o, said: “Raising investment in first to market ideas is hard and always takes longer than you think so it’s important to be achingly clear about why your company exists, what is your mission and how you can achieve it.

“Being used to applying for a number of online platforms for funding, I know some are very onerous and exhaustive, so it’s important that founders know who they are presenting to and what their motivations or pain points might be.

“Demo Directory, however, was easy to engage with and it quickly gained us interest that led to an investment in Ape2o - the best result we could wish for.”


For businesses to be featured on Barclays Demo Directory, they must:

·       Be investment ready

·       UK based.

In order to access Demo Directory as an investor, investors are required to attest to be a ‘self-certified sophisticated investor’ or ‘professional investor’ (defined by article 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000).

2The research conducted by Censuswide among a sample of 503 small business founders (aged 18+) growing in turnover of at least 5% year-on-year for the past three years. The data was collected between 20th -  27th September 2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

3The British Business Bank found that some progress had been made in 2022 with regards to the diversity of investment deals. 10% of first-time equity deals went to all-ethnic minority teams and they also received 19% of first-time investment.

4Beahurst report finds that high growth companies with a female founder secured 27% of announced equity deals in the UK in 2022

About Barclays

Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group.

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