Category: Finance

Crowdfunding Aiming in the Right Direction
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Crowdfunding Aiming in the Right Direction

Jean Miller, CEO of Investing Zone, looks at how crowdfunding could be a future AIM feeder for high-growth technology companies.

Last year, tech flotations accounted for a third of UK IPOs, firmly cementing the country as home to some of the best tech start-ups in the world.

Following this surge, the head of UK primary markets and AIM at the London Stock Exchange, Marcus Stuttard, proclaimed that the pipeline for tech IPOs remains ‘very strong’ for the next year.

Stuttard’s predictions highlight that confidence is returning and investors are getting excited about the potential of new technologies and high-growth companies, something which we’re also witnessing.

Rezatec and Rockstar

British satellite and environmental data products provider, Rezatec, is very close to completing £500,000 as part of larger equity funding round using the InvestingZone equity platform.

Rezatec supplies its customers with high value environmental data products that help them manage the impact of environmental change on their businesses and has also received funding from the Technology Strategy Board (the UK’s Innovation Agency), the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency. The company has contracts in place with a range of users across the energy, supply chain and agribusiness sectors.

In addition, Rockstar, a network storage solution for the SME market, has successfully raised £325,000 using the InvestingZone platform. Rockstar combines physical storage with a cloud-based functionality so that customers are able to access their data from anywhere in the world. It targets a gap in the SME data storage market left by Apple’s refocus on the consumer rather than the enterprise solutions. The company is already winning orders and achieving revenue, their exciting growth plans which include Private Cloud solutions marks them as one to watch for the future.

Crowdfunding: A feeder for future tech IPOs?

Whilst the growing appetite for hyper-growth companies is reassuring, it’s important for investors to remember that tech start-ups often require larger funding requirements and have longer time scales to market however, they are also generally more likely to generate returns for investors.

What’s needed for ambitious tech start-ups is a stage before IPO. Early-stage tech companies need an opportunity to raise finance, grow effectively and gain valuable experience of working with shareholders. Equity-crowdfunding achieves this by allowing companies to benefit from the experience of sophisticated investors. In the long-term this could enable a smoother – more successful – transition to IPO and avoid the potential of another tech-bubble emerging.”

350IP Beats Targets
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

350IP Beats Targets

350 Investment Partners (350IP), managers of The North West Fund for Energy and Environmental, has exceeded 2013 portfolio targets, investing in seven new clean tech and green energy companies across the region.

2013’s financial successes have been particularly beneficial to the Liverpool City Region, which received 30 per cent of the fund’s total financing for
the year.

The portfolio target for the end of 2014 was to have 14 companies on the books, with 350IP achieving this one year before it was scheduled.

Investment for the last year stands at £6.1m, accounting for more than half of the £11.7m invested since The Fund launched in 2011. With several more deals anticipated in the coming months, The Fund aims to be fully committed by the end of the year.

The North West Fund for Energy & Environmental is part of The North West Fund which is financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

The evergreen fund provides investment to environmentally conscious enterprises, and promotes energy efficient business nationwide. This year saw seven new companies added to its portfolio, including Acoustic Sensing Technologies, MHA Lighting, PVC Recycling, Community Switch, Arvia Technologies, Sign Lights and Stopford Projects.

The new businesses join Acal Energy, Imperative Energy, EcoLogicLiving, PlaceFirst, Ultromex, SenseLogix and CableSense in helping The Fund succeed its original target of 14.

Adam Workman, partner at 350 IP, said: “This year has seen us get involved with some really exciting companies. We’re proud to support the sector and put the region on the map as a centre for green energy excellence
and innovation.

“We’re looking forward to further extending our investments this year and engaging with more socially aware enterprises that continue to enhance the UK economy and wider environment. We could be fully committed by the end of this year which is an extremely exciting prospect.”

Investec Specialist Corporate Capital Strengthens
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Investec Specialist Corporate Capital Strengthens

Investec Specialist Bank has announced the appointment of Tim Howson to its Corporate Lending business.

Tim joins the Specialist Corporate Capital team, headed by Callum Bell, which originates, structures and arranges finance for transactions by financial sponsors and corporate clients with an enterprise value of between £100 million and £500 million.

Tim joins Investec from Jefferies & Co, where he was Senior Vice President in the Leveraged Finance team. Tim was responsible for the origination and execution of leveraged loan and high yield bond financings to support financial sponsors and corporate acquisitions. As part of this role, Tim also worked on refinancing transactions across Western Europe, CEE and MENA. Prior to this, Tim worked in the Leveraged Finance team at UBS Investment Bank and the mid-market Leveraged Finance team at Barclays, both based in London.

Callum Bell of Investec, said: “Tim’s appointment reflects our continued strategy of supporting corporate clients and financial sponsors in the mid-market. His origination and lending experience will support the team’s growth ambitions and reiterates our commitment to offering financing solutions to our clients to support their growth.”

Tim Howson said “I am excited to be joining Investec at this time and working in an ambitious, fast developing team focused on building long term relationships with corporates and financial sponsors, delivering financial solutions that help to add value for our clients.”

Claranet Shows Strong Growth
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Claranet Shows Strong Growth

Claranet has released its financial figures and reported a growth of 47 per cent, with turnover across the European Group increasing to £103m (€124m) over the last year (2012/13).

The financial results follow the first anniversary of two key acquisitions, Star (in the UK) and Typhon (in France), which the company made at the end of 2012, and reflect a year of strong performance across the business – with key customer wins and the successful integration of the new acquisitions into the Claranet Group.

Commenting on the last year, Charles Nasser, CEO of Claranet, says: “Our rapid growth this year has positioned Claranet as one of the largest independent managed services providers to mid-sized companies in
Western Europe.

“Our business approach ensures that we focus on the long-term future of the business, to benefit our customers and our staff over time. This means that we continue to invest in developing our services and processes as the company grows, and as the needs of our customers evolve.”

With the increasing consolidation of providers in the technology space across Europe, the acquisitions of Star (in the UK) and Typhon (in France) have ensured that Claranet is well-placed with a broader market offer, following the addition of communications services to its existing portfolio of network and hosting solutions.

The latest financial results top off a year that has seen Claranet positioned as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for European Managed Hosting, and win two industry Awards – for Entrepreneur of the Year for Charles Nasser (Datacentre and Cloud Awards, in June) and for the Best Customer Service Strategy Award (SVC Awards, in November). These highlights are combined with several significant customer wins that include River Island, Veolia, Lyons Davidson, Total, Elior UK Ltd, N24, Action For Children, Warner Brothers, Radley, Airbus and Peugeot/Citroen, to name just a few.

Commenting on the financial results, Nigel Fairhurst, Chief Financial Officer, Claranet Group, says: “We have achieved what we set out to in these acquisitions, expanding the portfolio with a wider offering for customers, yet ensuring that we took advantage of synergies when bringing the
businesses together.

“This has led to recurring EBITDA on a like-for-like basis, increasing by 95% year-on-year. In addition, the strength of the wider business is reflected in the contracted future revenue for the Group, which was in excess of £167m (€195m) at the end of the FY13, an increase of almost 100% on the previous year. This reflects both the size of the new contracts and the continued trend towards longer contracts.”

Charles concludes: “We are seeing a rapidly maturing cloud services market that is consolidating towards a smaller number of regional players at the mid-market level. Our strong growth last year was underpinned by the successful integration of our acquisitions into the business. Our plans are ambitious and as we look ahead into 2014, we expect the year to be one of further rapid growth and expansion for us across our Western
European market.”


Former Colleagues join forces at Insight
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Former Colleagues join forces at Insight

Insight are pleased to announce that Doug Smith has joined their rapidly growing Corporate Insurance consultancy business.

Doug has held previous senior positions as Chairman of Marsh’s Private Equity practice and latterly as Non-Exec Deputy Chairman of Willis M&A practice, and is widely regarded as one of the leading UK insurance advisors on transactional insurance issues to the private equity industry and major/mid size corporates.

Doug will team up again with former Corporate Risk plc colleague Colin Paterson, Managing Director and founder of Insight, and will focus on broadening and strengthening relationships with the private
equity community.

He will also provide strategic advice on growing Insight’s unique concept of introducing client-side (in house) corporate insurance expertise, free from any commercial conflicts, directly to the PE community and their portfolio companies, and to corporate insurance buyers of medium/large corporates.

Commenting on the appointment, Colin Paterson said: “We are delighted to have been able to attract the services of Doug Smith in an advisory non-executive role. Doug is recognised as being one of the UK’s most experienced insurance professionals and has a long-standing track record in advising private equity firms and corporate business from both operational and strategic perspectives on Insurance matters.

We look forward to working together again and I am sure Insight will greatly benefit from his participation and professional input, which will further assist us in rolling out our unique client-side corporate insurance offering and attaining our expansion plans.”

Doug, whose previous roles include Chairman and Founder of insurance broker Corporate Risk plc, Director and Chairman of Heart of Midlothian from 1997 – 2004 together with a number of Public & Private companies, commented: “Insight is providing a valuable service, increasingly recognised by corporate insurance buyers. It allows the key process of insurance renewal and risk issues to be dealt with using the in-house services of experienced insurance professionals from Insight. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of developing Insight in the UK and
European markets.”