Scottish Equity Partners annual investments hit £99m
Funds under management at the firm, which has 40 partners and employees across its Glasgow, Edinburgh and London offices, now exceed $1 billion with further growth expected through to 2016.
The specialist in innovative high growth companies has invested in online language learning company Babbel, insurance software business SSP, and Cambridge based cancer testing company Abcodia.
SEP said that it is continuing to see particularly strong deal flow for software and cloud-enabled service companies, as well as businesses in the consumer internet sector.
Significant exits completed during the year included fast growing Reading-based energy services business, Anesco.
Strong operating performance was also evidenced across the SEP portfolio with employee numbers growing by 10 per cent from 4,600 to over 5,000. Aggregate revenues increased by 20 per cent from £700 million to £850 million.
Growth was particularly strong across SEP’s internet and ecommerce companies, including Edinburgh-based Skyscanner, London-based MatchesFashion.com and Mr Spex, Europe’s leading eyewear company based in Germany.
SEP’s managing partner, Calum Paterson said: “We have had a very busy 12 months, and in general terms our portfolio companies have performed very well indeed. The technology sector is especially buoyant right now but we have been there before and history has taught us to be very selective in terms of new investments. While there are undoubtedly some very attractive opportunities, many of the companies we see may ultimately struggle to justify their lofty valuations. Exit conditions are good right now, however, and this is arguably a better time to be selling than to buying.”
SEP also raised £135 million for a new energy infrastructure fund, which was backed by SSE plc and a number of financial investors. The fund’s cornerstone investment, which completed at the launch of the fund, is Glasgow-headquartered independent public gas transporter Indigo Pipelines. SEP’s investment team was expanded to manage the new fund, with the appointments of several infrastructure specialists. Further appointments are planned over the next 12 months.
Mr Paterson added: “SEP has now been in business as an independent venture capital group for 15 years. Since setting the firm up back in August 2000, we have grown our team significantly, evolved our investment approach, and diversified our business model through the addition of secondary and infrastructure funds. We have remained firmly committed to investment in Scotland, but have extended our investment reach throughout the UK and into Europe. Fundamentally, however, we have continued to back high quality and entrepreneurial management teams and to support high growth technology companies across the information technology, healthcare and energy sectors. Our market opportunity remains very positive.”