In 2020 BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, has invested a total of £111 million into companies in London and the South East, made up of new and follow-on funding, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
New investments in the last 12 months included £2 million in Bramble Energy – the world’s most scalable hydrogen fuel cell which is addressing a key component of the transition to a low-carbon economy. The team completed a £6 million investment in global animation studio, Snipple, and led an $11 million funding round into ecommerce platform, Moteefe.
BGF, which completed on average an investment per week nationally in 2020, is a long-term patient investor, making initial investments between £1million to £15 million for a minority equity stake. It backs ambitious teams across a range of sectors and funds a variety of growth plans.
In the first half of the year, BGF opened a new office in Cambridge which has since completed over £7 million worth of deals, including an investment of £2 million into life sciences company and Cambridge university spin-out Definigen.
Other highlights in the portfolio this year saw Gousto – the recipe box subscription service – achieve Unicorn status after BGF closed its eighth round in the business.
The new investments take BGF’s total funding in London and the South East to nearly £700 million.
Grant Paul Florence, Head of Investments at BGF in London & the South East said, “Covid-19 has placed a significant strain and worry on many of the region’s businesses; however, we have remained determined to support those management teams showing great resilience in the face of economic uncertainty. We’ve seen an uplift in enquiries heading into the new year, signalling further prospects for deal activity over the next 12 months. The entrepreneurs we’re speaking to are typically looking to accelerate organic growth, enter new markets and make acquisitions, as well as potentially de-risking some of their own personal investments.”
This view is supported by research carried out by Delineate on behalf of BGF which found that nearly 70% of growth economy companies in London and the South East – which have revenues between £2.5m and £100m – said they remain motivated to grow in 2021.
Grant added, “We are seeing a real drive and motivation amongst growth economy businesses particularly in the fields of tech, life sciences and sustainability. BGF’s proposition as a long-term, minority equity partner is attractive to businesses looking to recapitalise, particularly if they have built up significant amounts of debt during the pandemic. Equity funding can allow the repayment of personal financing and accelerate growth plans organically or via strategic acquisitions. BGF has the expertise and financial backing to give businesses critical advice as they look to reignite or power ahead with growth plans this year.”