Record year for BGF’s regional office, despite Covid-19, with investments reaching £67m

January 23, 2021

Investment group BGF’s South West team overcame challenges sparked by the coronavirus pandemic to invest a record amount last year.

Some £67m was injected into businesses in 2020 – up on the £37m achieved in 2019 and overtaking the previous record of £50m in 2018. 

The new investments take BGF’s total funding in the South West to more than £377m since it opened the office in Bristol in 2011.

New investments in the past 12 months included £6m in Bristol software developer and digital transformation specialist Amdaris to support its organic and acquisitive growth strategy.

The firm, pictured, one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies, now employs more than 200 developers and has averaged 40% revenue growth per annum over the past three years,

The office also invested in Bristol-headquartered cloud-based HR and payroll software provider XCD. The tech innovator, which supplies world-leading HR and payroll services to clients in the not-for-profit, private and public sectors, is growing its 70-plus strong workforce. 

BGF’s South West team, pictured, itself expanded last year with the appointments of Liam Pursall and Georgie Stratton in investment and direct origination roles to reflect ongoing market demand.

Several highly successful exits were achieved last year, including from Vysiion Group, the Chippenham-based communications infrastructure and outsourced IT service provider, and Gloucester-based Direct Online Services, the UK’s leading e-commerce retailer of kitchen worktops. Both deals delivered excellent returns for all shareholders.

BGF head of South West and Wales Ned Dorbin, pictured, said: “Covid-19 has placed a significant strain on many of the region’s businesses. However, we have remained determined to support those entrepreneurs and management teams showing great resilience in the face of economic uncertainty.

“Throughout 2020, BGF continued its long-term approach, with the aim to assist the expansion of businesses at the appropriate pace and pursue an exit that is timed right to be of maximum benefit to all shareholders.” 

Ned and his team have also experienced an uplift in inquiries heading into 2021, signalling further prospects for deal activity over the next 12 months.

Opportunities are likely to arise from entrepreneurs looking to make acquisitions, enter new markets and potentially de-risk of some of their own personal investments.

This view is supported by research carried out for BGF by Delineate, which found that 69% of South West growth companies with revenues between £2.5m and £100m plan to grow this year.

Ned added: “We are seeing a real drive and motivation among growth economy businesses to get themselves in order, with many considering equity funding as a stabilising solution.

“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, such as strategic acquisitions.

“BGF has the expertise and financial backing to give businesses critical advice as they look to reignite or forge ahead with growth plans this year.”

BGF has invested £2.5bn in over 335 companies since it was established in 2011, making it the most active investor in the UK.

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