British Business Investments and Par Equity to deliver £75m of investment to support ambitious entrepreneurs in the regions

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British Business Bank

17 April 2020

British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has announced a new £15m commitment to Par Equity as the latest partner in its Regional Angels Programme.

The funds from British Business Investments will be invested by Par Equity alongside the Par EIS Fund and the Par Investor Network to deliver over £75m of new funding for scale-up businesses primarily in the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The £15m commitment from the Regional Angels Programme will help to drive further investment into promising scale-up businesses in these parts of the UK. The Programme will also help with Par Equity’s follow-on investment activity, ensuring that the portfolio receives the capital it needs to reach critical milestones.

The Par Investor Network, with nearly 200 members, invests alongside the Par EIS Fund to create a distinct, operationally focused investment model where professional investors and experienced business angels add value to businesses throughout the investment lifecycle.

The announcement comes as Par Equity completes a £1.6m investment into EC-OG, drawing on the pledged capital from the Regional Angels Programme for the first time. EC-OG has launched Halo, a subsea power hub, providing efficient, autonomous energy management for subsea applications. The company leverages its proprietary technology with deep sector expertise to service customers at a fraction of the cost of incumbent subsea power solutions. The investment will support a scale-up phase for the business, creating up to 40 jobs in Aberdeen over the coming 12 months.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO of British Business Investments, said: “Angel investors play a vital role in the economy, bringing patient capital, business experience and skills to support the growth of smaller businesses. Our Regional Angels Programme is designed to address regional imbalances in the availability of angel finance by increasing the capital available to smaller, high growth potential, businesses through angel networks.”

Mark Barry, Senior Investment Manager, British Business Investments, said: “This £15m commitment from British Business Investments will enable Par Equity to increase its support for smaller businesses in the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland at a time when the business know-how and financial support that angel investors can deliver is needed more than ever.”

Paul Munn, Managing Partner of Par Equity, said: “Par Equity’s investment model, combining our EIS Fund with experienced business angel investors and co-investment capital, is a powerful recipe for providing patient capital. We already benefit from a flow of high quality investment opportunities and this commitment from the Regional Angels Programme will bring us increased financial firepower. It will help us enhance our growing reputation as the investment partner of choice for the best young companies in the regions and help them to attract the talent they need to realise their potential.

“At Par Equity we have long recognised and supported the opportunities offered by entrepreneurs and their companies based in the North. That philosophy is now in line with government thinking and this funding will enable us to leverage our network to find the best young companies to invest in, delivering value to them and the whole economy.”

Since it was founded in 2008, Par Equity has invested more than £70m in 57 companies and the portfolio has attracted over £110m of further investment from third party investors.

EC-OG joins Par’s portfolio of emerging stars such as: Current Health, a leading Edinburgh-based remote-patient monitoring platform; BrainwaveBank, the Belfast-based creator of a wearable headset device for EEG brain scanning that measures the mechanisms underpinning neurological disorders and therapies; and NPT, a Middlesbrough-based, cleantech company with a patented process to convert non-food plant residue into biofuels and chemicals. Other successful investments include deltaDNA, an Edinburgh-based analytics company, sold to Unity Technologies in 2019, ICS Learn, a Glasgow based distance learning business, bought by Primary Capital in 2018, and PathXL, a Belfast-based digital pathology solution, acquired by Phillips Healthcare in 2016.

The Regional Angels Programme helps reduce regional imbalances in access to early stage equity finance for smaller businesses across the UK, because it plays an important role in funding businesses with growth ambitions. The programme aims to address this issue by increasing the availability, supply and awareness of angel and other early-stage equity investments across the country, particularly in areas where this type of finance is less readily available.

The Regional Angels Programme works by committing funds for investment alongside business angels and other early stage equity investors, acting as a catalyst to bring longer-term capital to smaller businesses with growth ambitions. Launched in 2018, it forms part of the Government’s response to the Patient Capital Review.

Like all British Business Investments programmes, the new programme expects to generate a market rate of return on its investments and will be investing on a commercial basis.

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