Businesses backed by the SME investor Enterprise Ventures raised over £86m on AIM in 2015 – demonstrating the quality of its maturing, early stage portfolio.
Enterprise Ventures, which has an office at Princes Dock, now has eight listed companies in its portfolio following the flotation of two Liverpool-based biotech businesses during the year – Redx Pharma, which raised £15m when it joined AIM in March 2015 and Evgen Pharma, which raised £7m in October.
Six more Enterprise Ventures portfolio companies raised over £64m between them through AIM share placings in 2015. They include Xeros Technology Group, the Yorkshire business which has developed a patented, ground-breaking, environment-friendly laundry technology, and which raised £40m in November.
Jonathan Diggines, chief executive of Enterprise Ventures, said:
“Over the past decade we have supported some of the UK’s most exciting technology businesses – mainly in the North of England. We backed them right from the start, often when they were just an idea – the toughest time to attract funding. Having helped to lay the foundations, the resurgence of the public markets is now enabling us to attract new capital, to build scale and to bring new technologies to market.”
During the year Enterprise Ventures also achieved a number of successful exits, including St Helens-based TransGlobal Payment Solutions, which provides online foreign exchange services and was acquired by the outsourcing giant Equiniti; and London-based IMC, which provides international development services for sovereign governments and aid agencies and which was sold to its management team.
Other key deals during 2015 included investment totalling £700,000 in Liverpool-based Document Direct; a £465,000 follow-on investment in Cheshire big data specialist Wammee Holdings, and a second funding round for Manchester-based Intechnica, which extends website capacity during peak demand.
Enterprise Ventures, which has a current portfolio of 375 companies, mainly in the North of England, has invested more than £110 million in the last five years. Jonathan Diggines said it was this type of investment which would help to realise the vision of a Northern Powerhouse, and that it was time for firms in the region to look to the future, adding:
“After years of uncertainty, when many firms have had their plans on hold, the outlook is now much more positive. We will no doubt still experience the unexpected – and we will surely face interest rate increases in the short to medium term – but at last it is time for small businesses to invest and move on.”