What has been Praetura Ventures approach in 2020 and how might it change in 2021?
“Our approach in 2020 is consistent with our approach in 2019: invest and support entrepreneurial, ambitious SMEs across the north of England. We always look to back strong management teams in exciting scaleable businesses who’ve shown a proof of concept, and in return, we provide more than money. This means actively supporting the founders of the companies we invest in with our experience, not just our money. For us, this approach is a prerequisite to invest and adds value to businesses.
“Looking to 2021, while we won’t change the essence of our approach, clearly Covid-19 has chilled the market. However, we see tech – and particularly health tech – being a key driver going forward and helping the economic recovery. Besides that, our plan is to continue working with advisers to build strategic relationships, all via clear and transparent communication.”
What’s Praetura Ventures’ USP?
“We’re one of few genuine venture capital firms in the north and we have a relatively large team. The team all work together to deliver our more than money approach, which is what we believe sets us apart from the rest, and we’ve found that those we support have found it very valuable in the current climate.
“For advisers, we have huge desire to create open and honest communications and be 100% transparent. We’re certain this will broaden the appeal of venture capital, especially EIS, as we guide them through their investment journey.”
Has your firm changed in any way during the year?
“Over the past year, the team has grown to 22 people. The additions over the past 12 months included appointing Andy Sumner as a portfolio MD, a major appointment to our senior team. Like most people, we’ve all been working remotely during lockdown but we’re planning a phased return to our office, which we opened last year in Manchester’s Spinningfields.
“We’ve also launched a dedicated investor portal for EIS investors, allowing them to easily track and stay connected to their investments.”
What are your views on the Government’s recent changes to EIS?
“The government’s changes to EIS rules around patient capital are overwhelmingly positive. Investors are being supported via the various tax reliefs for taking true risk to their capital, as the rules had always intended. Historically, conversations between advisers and their clients could be confusing given that many EIS solutions were marketed as ‘capital preservation’-focused, despite the adviser having to label them as ‘high risk’. The changes made have removed a significant amount of this confusion.”
Do you have any fears that future Government changes could undermine the scheme’s effectiveness?
“In short, no. Since EIS was formed, the changes made have typically been positive for investors and show that the government sees the benefits of the scheme and why it needs to support it. I can’t foresee any changes to undermine it, if any are made at all.
“The government has seen a need for private investment in Britain’s businesses and has catered for that need – it would be a real step backwards to reduce the relief that EIS offers now.”
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