Edinburgh VC firm Par Equity ramps up 2022 tech investment to £38 million

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Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based venture capital outfit, pumped £38 million into early-stage technology businesses across the north of the UK last year, up from £25m in 2021, new figures have revealed.

The VC firm backed 27 companies in 2022, of which ten were new additions to its portfolio. One of the highlights of the year was the sale of Livingston-based Optoscribe, a developer of 3D lasers for telecommunications. The acquisition, by chip giant Intel Corporation, is said to have generated “substantial returns” for investors. The deal also meant that Par Equity has returned capital back to its investor base every year for the past decade.

The firm’s new investments were spread across the north of the UK, with four based in Scotland, four in the north of England and one in Northern Ireland. A further company, StretchSense, which has its headquarters in New Zealand, raised £4.2m, in a round led by Par Equity, to build out its European operations from Scotland.

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Paul Munn, managing partner at Par Equity, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the team’s achievements and the level of investment and support we’re bringing to the table, especially in a region which is largely underserved and overlooked. A vibrant start-up and scale-up community is vital to the economic future of the UK and we hope we are playing a small part in the government’s important levelling up plans. The portfolio is making fantastic progress despite the wider macroeconomic challenges and, for the global technology industry, 2022 was a significant reset, book-ended by polarising conditions,” he added.

Partner Andrew Noble said: “As an economic zone, the north of the UK is the equivalent of the eighth largest country in Europe and the 20th largest in the world. We see enormous opportunity here. Our world-class academic institutions and technology hubs are awash with innovation and there’s a fantastic pipeline of talent emerging across the north of the UK.”

Meanwhile, Foresight Group said it had announced a new fund dedicated to investment in Scotland. The first close, at more than £60m, was supported by cornerstone commitments from Strathclyde Pension Fund and British Business Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Business Bank.

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