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UKBAA Angel Investment Awards sponsor LGT Vestra shines a spotlight on Exit of the Year

Ben Chance

The nominations are open for the UKBAA Angel Investment Awards 2021, which is taking place virtually on 8th June, and there’s less than a week to submit a nomination. Wealth management firm LGT Vestra is sponsoring the Exit of the Year category so we spoke to Ben Chance, Partner and Head of the Private Office, to find out what kind of businesses he’s hoping will apply from the category.

Having been on an entrepreneurial journey themselves since launching 12 years ago, LGT Vestra works very closely with their entrepreneur clients so they know an impressive exit when they see one. Having sponsored the Exit of the Year category before, Ben has a clear idea of the businesses that should be putting themselves forward this year.

“A great example is a couple of years ago when Dr Harry Destecroix won Exit of the Year with Ziylo. The UK is a hotbed of world leading innovation in a wide range of sectors, notably in science and technology, including AI, and e-commerce. For example, we are world leaders, as we’ve seen during the pandemic, in genetic sequencing,” shares Ben. “These are the sorts of businesses that are being founded in universities and innovation hubs all over the country. They are the businesses that are going on to be sold in substantial deals to global multinationals. It’s these entrepreneurs and this innovation that we’d love to celebrate as part of this award.”

The pandemic, which is still on-going more than a year after much of the world went into lockdown, has caused plenty of challenges for everyone. With the majority of us working from home and human contact limited, adapting has been a difficult process. Speaking about his experience, Ben reveals:

“It’s been challenging for different companies in different ways. So much of business is about meeting and building relationships with people, and being able to judge the intentions of people through a video screen is incredibly hard. Getting out and about, getting the word out about your business and getting access to prospective investors is very tricky during the middle of a pandemic. Yet we’ve also seen how resilient and flexible people can be, and we’ve found both as a business, and watching our clients, how well we’ve all been able to adapt at very short notice.”

“The UK is a hotbed of world leading innovation in a wide range of sectors, notably in science and technology, including AI, and e-commerce.”

Indeed, some sectors have thrived and there have been a substantial number of exits, particularly at the start of this year.

“I think we’ve seen a huge amount of innovation and the types of businesses that are starting from scratch and growing well, tend to be better prepared anyway for modern working practices. On the whole, they’ve probably been better able to adapt than the large legacy firms.”

With lockdown easing once again, and the UK government laying out a roadmap that aims to lift all restrictions on 21st June, at the earliest, many businesses are busy planning what the rest of 2021 might look like. For LGT Vestra, they want to reconnect with people and continue growing their organisation. They also have a focus on environmental and societal issues, as Ben explains:

“We’re doubling down on our commitments to various sustainable initiatives; reducing paper usage and energy usage – we’ve planted 9,000 trees and counting – as we move our clients to a paperless world. We’ve got a raft of initiatives, both as a firm and as a broader group, to commit ourselves towards being a flagship business in sustainability terms between now and 2025. That’s a key area of focus for us.”

LGT Vestra also has its eye on expanding and creating a larger regional presence. The firm has hubs in London, Bristol and Jersey already and is actively pursuing opportunities for further regional expansion.

“We’re looking to increase our firm’s regional presence across the UK which will expand on the three offices we currently have in London, Bristol and Jersey. There are some fantastic businesses in every corner of the UK and in all different sectors and we are excited to explore the opportunities to be gained from expanding regionally.”

Submit a nomination for Exit of the Year and the other categories at this year’s UKBAA Angel Investment Awards by going to https://awards.ukbaa.org.uk. The deadline is midnight on 18th April 2021.

Find out more about LGT Vestra at https://www.lgtvestra.com.

By UKBAA14 Apr 2021