Growth investor BGF bets £70m in North West

Neil Inskip

Growth investor BGF announced it invested £70 million in the North West of England in 2021 as it backed “some of the most exciting entrepreneurial businesses in the region” and pledged to invest more in 2022.

The fund makes initial investments between £1 million to £15 million for a minority equity stake.

BGF said it successfully exited five businesses in the North West during 2021, including Kids Planet, having supported the nursery group’s rollout from 17 to more than 80 sites.

BGF also announced a successful exit of NSS as the business was acquired Premier Technical Services Group Ltd (PTSG).

Other significant exits include CurrentBody – the world’s largest provider of clinically proven beauty devices for home use, which sold a £50 million majority stake in the business to eComplete.

“The team has backed five new businesses in the last 12 months, as well as providing follow-on funding to existing portfolio businesses,” said BGF.

“New investments include a £15 million investment into Preston-based hybrid cloud and IT managed services provider, Celerity, as well as £7.5 million in Lancashire e-commerce logistics and tech company, Fulfilmentcrowd.

“This followed the £4 million investment into double Queen’s award-winner, DriveWorks – the Warrington-headquartered company, which works with manufacturing and engineering businesses to provide innovative software solutions.”

Neil Inskip, head of BGF in the North West, said: “We’re extremely fortunate in the North West to have an abundance of excellent entreprenuerial companies that are defying the current challenges, and committing to ambitious growth plans.

“We expect strong investment activity across the region to continue into 2022 and have a good pipeline with new investments and exits already well progressed.

“This year’s success for BGF reaffirms our flexible model and point of difference in the market as business owners in our portfolio have been able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities.

“We’re confident the region’s businesses have the growth potential, talent, and appetite to make 2022 another standout year, and we’re excited about supporting them on that journey.”

The momentum in the North West came amid a significant year for BGF as a whole which saw the growth capital investor complete 67 new deals and invest £600 million over the course of 2021 – a record year for the fund.

This was a 55% increase in the total amount invested compared to 2020.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of the total sum invested was with companies based outside of London and the South East.

At the same time, total investment since 2011 passed the £3 billion milestone as BGF celebrated its 10th anniversary with the most successful year in its history.

BGF has now backed over 460 companies to date.

Investments made by BGF in the last year spanned the length and breadth of the UK.

These include £8.5 million to high-growth Scottish IT group Kick ICT, £12 million to North East procurement business Bloom, and £10.5 million to Thames Valley cyber security firm e2e-assure.