Cass Entrepreneurship Fund investment fuels ambitious vision in rare disease

The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund has announced its lead role in a £680,000 investment round into healthcare technology business, Raremark.

The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, the commercial £10m venture fund based in-house at Cass Business School has announced its lead role in a £680,000 investment round into a high-growth healthcare technology business, Raremark. The investment round included funds from existing and new Angel investors, and the crowd-funding platform Syndicate Room.

Raremark manages an online platform to provide support and information pertinent to sufferers of rare diseases. The company’s proprietary platform helps to remove feelings of isolation by rare disease sufferers and their networks by opening up a world of trusted and verified information, primarily through the indexing of over 2,000 scientific articles and current medical guidelines for each disease. Rare disease patients and carers often face great uncertainty after diagnosis, with limited treatments and support networks for what are often chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Users of the Raremark platform can comment and share knowledge, connect with specialist centres of research, and find out more about potential treatments in development.

The business has ambitious plans to launch a range of online communities in rare disease to help families affected by rarely-seen conditions and will expand into new territories in due course, supported by investment from Cass.

Helen Reynolds, Investment Director at the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, said, “We are delighted to provide meaningful financial backing to Raremark. Julie Walters is a very capable CEO, and has material ambitions for the business. In particular, we were impressed by the significant market opportunity and the team’s expertise.”

Peter Cullum, CBE, who founded the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cass Business School, said, “We often hear entrepreneurship is about resilience, drive and passion – it’s also about skill."

Raremark’s founder Julie Walters is also a graduate of the Entrepreneur Academy in 2015, a mentoring programme for female tech entrepreneurs, supported by the City of London. Julie said, "I am a firm believer that entrepreneurs are made, not born. There is no replacement for actually running a business, ideally a small one to start with, but as quickly as possible you need to learn how to grow a business - and that takes skill.”

Peter Cullum, Julie Walters, Helen Reynolds(L-R): Peter Cullum CBE (Chairman, Global Risk Partners), Julie Walters (Raremark) and Helen Reynolds (Cass)

The Centre plays host to the £10m Cass Entrepreneurship Fund and acts as a focal point for budding and established entrepreneurs at Cass. Peter added, “Helping entrepreneurs develop the right skills, and providing practical support to deliver scalable business plans are essential components for commercial success.”

About the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund

The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund was established in 2010 and provides growth equity investment to early-stage, revenue-generating companies. It seeks skilled management teams with a clear vision and the drive to meet the challenges of early-stage business development, and to help them realise their wider commercial ambitions.