SETsquared - Incubator Marketing Case Study | EV

Defining a scalable and repeatable advisory framework.


SETsquared is a unique enterprise partnership and a dynamic collaboration between five leading research-led UK universities: Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Ranked as the Global No. 1 Business Incubator, they provide a wide range of highly acclaimed support programmes to help turn ideas into thriving businesses.

// The Challenge

The SETsquared team wanted to formalise the framework they provide to support companies as they raise investment. After years of advising businesses, they wanted to turn their expertise surrounding the common challenges, misconceptions and assistance for raising investment into an established guide.

They wanted to onboard a company with expertise in working with growth-phase companies to help them define this process and create a repeatable infrastructure.

“It was important to us that we worked with an agency that understood the pain points and needs of our audience: early tech- and innovation-led companies. We had met EV in a previous programme we ran and knew they could help us hone our messaging.”

The objectives.

  • To communicate an accurate and realistic timeline of raising investment and clearly signpost the most critical stages
  • To create a framework for raising investment that could be used by SETsquared advisors and early-stage businesses
  • To translate the SETsquared structure into an official guide that could be easily accessed and followed
  • To help prepare people for the investment journey

Rosie Bennett, Investment Programme Manager at SETsquared continues,

“We didn’t know exactly how we wanted the final product to look, but EV helped us shape our objectives and pull our ideas and experience together into a structure that made sense.”



Tailoring strategic objectives and integrating knowledge.

EV first conducted an in-depth kick-off meeting to outline the scope of the project and confirm the objectives of the framework. SETsquared is a multi-layered organisation with a wealth of expertise, so we spent time auditing all areas of their service and understanding their diverse knowledge.

From this process, EV and SETsquared determined that they would create a comprehensive guide to raising investment, delivered as an interactive e-book and downloadable pdf. This material would integrate all the different areas of advice that SETsquared provide, turning their collective knowledge into an actionable guide.

// The Solution

An embedded RAISE toolkit for growth companies.

EV delivered the end-to-end guide, including the chapter framework, content, design and branding. We first branded the guide as “SETsquared RAISE”, giving it an independent and expert identity. This helped to establish the framework internally and allowed SETsquared to evolve it into a strategic toolkit that their advisors could use to structure their work. It also provided the opportunity to market the guide as an external reference for companies looking to raise investment.

We delivered detailed and comprehensive content, consisting of 12 chapters, which iterated the bespoke services SETsquared provide and their unique expertise in the sector. We also branded the framework and designed the e-book. This was then translated into a robust, interactive online tool which is linked to the SETsquared platform with some exclusive access for SETsquared members.

SETsquared RAISE has become more than a piece of content. It is used as a strategic foundation for how the raise process is communicated by the SETsquared community, and has become a tangible tool throughout the programme. The e-book and framework have been applied as a self-assessment tool for companies getting ready for investors, a structure for advisors providing investment guidance, as well as being included in webinars and training sessions.

What we delivered.

  • Strategic consultancy on the framework branding and structure
  • Project management of content creation, design and development
  • Content creation for the complete guide
  • Branding and design work for the SETsquared RAISE framework and interactive guide

// The Future

“EV did more than we initially expected – they turned our knowledge into a high-quality and creative digital tool which has diverse use cases,” Rosie says. “The EV team was extremely easy to work with; they delivered everything to an impressive standard and very efficiently.”

SETsquared continue to use the framework as an integrated tool within their advisory service; it is used by members and advisors, and has the potential to be adopted into the external market.

“SETsquared RAISE has become a critical device in how we work. For example, when new companies first join the SETsquared programme we refer them to RAISE,” Rosie states. “We’d happily work with EV again if another project comes up, and would recommend them to anyone looking for strategic marketing.”

"We didn’t know exactly how we wanted the final product to look, but EV helped us shape our objectives and pull our ideas and experience together into a structure that made sense."

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