The Baronsmead Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), managed by Gresham House, have successfully raised £65m this year. The fundraising round, which closed in March, was the largest VCT raise to date and the second largest across all VCTs in the 2020/21 tax year.
The new funds take the combined Net Asset Value of the Baronsmead VCTs to more than £400m for the first time since launching at the inception of the VCT market 25 years ago. Applications closed early and were oversubscribed following strong investor demand.
The Baronsmead VCTs are managed by Gresham House, whose Gresham House Ventures team specialises in scaling software and technology driven businesses in the healthcare, consumer and services sectors. This fundraise ensures the Baronsmead VCTs are well capitalised to continue supporting high-growth, entrepreneurial businesses which will be a key driver of the economic recovery.
The fundraise coincided with a busy period for both new investments and realisations. Notable recent investments include a £5.0m investment in eConsult Health, the NHS’s leading online consultation provider for primary care, £1.5m in e-commerce conversion optimisation business RevLifter, and £2.0m in SME accounting and banking platform Countingup.
Over the course of the last year, the Baronsmead VCTs have sold several investments generating strong returns for shareholders. In May 2020, the investment in Glide – the UK’s leading provider of fibre broadband and connectivity to difficult-to-serve markets – was sold, generating a return of 6.3 times the original investment. Software consultancy Ten10 Group was sold in October, realising 3.7 times multiple cost, and the Baronsmead VCTs partially exited its investment in governance, risk and compliance software business Ideagen at a 5.6 times multiple.
Bevan Duncan, fund manager of the Baronsmead VCTs, said: “Our fundraising is a significant milestone for the Baronsmead VCTs and brings total assets under management to a record £433m. We are ready to put the new money raised to work straight away, investing in publicly listed and privately owned businesses operating in sectors where we have deep expertise and in parts of the economy set to benefit from long-term structural growth drivers.
“For us, this means focusing on niche software and digitally driven companies, where our experience and network can help add value and catalyse growth. We see further exciting growth opportunities in companies aligned to the post-Covid environment. The pandemic has provided a unique test of management and created new winners in those agile teams who have been able to quickly adapt their business models or ways of working. We appreciate the trust our new and existing investors have placed in us, which we believe is testament to the quality and determination of the future leaders we invest in.”