Leading UK venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has reported a sharp upturn in investment activity this year and strong operating performance across its portfolio of 40 high growth companies.
SEP, one of the largest venture capital groups in Europe, confirmed that investment is scheduled to total £60m in the current year to 31 December. Companies added to the portfolio include leading digital solutions provider Tryzens, email marketing company Pure360, and social analytics company SocialBro, reflecting what SEP says is particularly strong deal flow for digital media opportunities. SEP expects to complete another significant e-commerce investment within the next few weeks.
Aggregate revenues for the portfolio have grown 22% in 2013 to almost £700 million, while employment across the SEP companies has increased by 12% to more than 4,200.
SEP partners with innovative high growth companies in technology and technology-enabled business sectors. Approximately 90% of the SEP portfolio is UK based, with one third headquartered in Scotland, including Skyscanner, the world’s fastest growing travel search company. SEP remains the largest shareholder in Skyscanner, following the recent $800 million secondary deal with US venture firm Sequoia Capital.
Other strong performers across the SEP portfolio included energy services company Anesco, which topped the 2013 Fast Track 100 covering the UK’s fastest growing private companies. London based fashion retailer, matchesfashion.com, has also grown strongly, increasing employment numbers to more than 350 staff, attracting 2.5 million visits to its website every month and shipping to 195 countries throughout the world. Significant progress has also been made by managed services provider Control Circle, named Managed Services Provider for the second year in a row at the International Datacentre and Cloud Awards 2013; and Livingston based Cyberhawk which has completed a series of world firsts in offshore and onshore oil and gas inspections through the use of remotely operated aerial vehicles.
SEP’s Managing Partner, Calum Paterson said: “As long term investors, what really matters to us is how our companies do across their entire journey, but many of them have done particularly well in the last 12 months. The employment and revenue numbers demonstrate that for the right companies, venture capital can and does have a very substantial impact”.
SEP has expanded its own team during the year, hiring Andrew Carnwath from F&C and Paul Neeson from Caird Capital. Further recruitment is planned in 2014 for the firm’s London and Glasgow offices.
Ian Marchant, former Chief Executive of SSE plc, Senior Non-Executive Director of the Wood Group, and President of the Energy Institute will join SEP’s Investment Advisory Board in January.
The firm expects investment opportunities to increase further in 2014.
Paterson said: “Technology innovation is increasingly disrupting everyday life, business activity and the global economy. We feel sure that this trend will continue at an even greater pace in 2014. Our challenge is to find the entrepreneurs who can successfully commercialise the opportunities which are opening up and to help them build great companies. We view the UK as having the best environment for venture capital investment and entrepreneurship in Europe, and the success of our portfolio companies underpins our position as the investor of choice.”
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