Scots VC firm Par Equity sees investment hit accelerator with busy Q1

Edinburgh-based venture capital (VC) firm Par Equity has hailed its support of 12 high-growth technology companies in the first quarter of 2022 – helping it achieve record annual investments.

By Emma Newlands
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 12:30 pm

The organisation says it backs early-stage companies across the north of the UK that have made a technological breakthrough and are generating “significant” revenue.

In the 12 months to April, the investment manager invested a record £31.4 million, a year-on-year increase of 83 per cent, and it added nine businesses to its portfolio last year, covering fields such as digital health, clean tech, renewable energy, and industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution). The update comes after Par Equity in January said it pumped some £25m into innovative technology businesses in 2021, up from just over £12m in 2020.

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Four new deals were completed in the first quarter of this year, including Par Equity in February leading an investment of more than £2.5m into Machines with Vision, an Edinburgh-based company that has developed a “state-of-the-art” vision system for railway network operators like National Rail, and seen as having the potential to save those operating in Europe up to £5 billion a year in maintenance costs.

In the same month the Par Equity team led a £1.7m investment into Miralis Fuuse, a Lancaster-based company that launched a year ago and has built an electric vehicle charge point management system and says it is helping accelerate the transition to the future of electric powered mobility.

February also saw the announcement that intelligent energy management and storage technologies specialist Verlume had received £2.5m from a consortium led by Par Equity.

That followed the latter saying in January that it had led its largest-ever seed round, with a $5.1m (£4.2m) injection into start-up SamsonVT, which is focused on helping manufacturers better access information.

Key personnel at Edinburgh-based Machines With Vision, into which Par Equity in February led a £2.5m investment. Picture: Stewart Attwood.

Par Equity added that whilst deploying a record amount in the 12 months to April, it also returned a larger amount to its investors over the same period, continuing its history of giving back cash to its investors every year since 2013. It added that the most high-profile sale was Current Health, which was acquired by Best Buy Inc. for $400m in October 2021.

Innovation

Andrew Noble, partner at Par Equity, said: “We’re thrilled to find so many exciting tech companies to back across the north of the UK, many of which are a direct result of the fantastic innovation emerging from our outstanding universities.

"Rapidly growing clusters of tech talent in [artificial intelligence] and data science, robotics, nanotechnologies, and quantum computing are helping to shape the industries of the future, and have the potential to put Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England on the map when it comes to tech investment.”

'We’re thrilled to find so many exciting tech companies to back across the north of the UK,' says Andrew Noble, partner at Par Equity. Picture: Ditte Solgaard Dunn, First Light Photography.

Par Equity says it was established to invest in young companies in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, adding that it promotes a hybrid investment model, fusing more than 200 members of its investor network with its discretionary managed funds.

It points out that it won Angel Group of the Year in 2021, for example, was a finalist for VC House of the Year at the European Private Equity Awards 2022, and now, alongside other VC firms, has launched ESG_VC, a pan-European initiative to provide early-stage entrepreneurs with a framework and tools to build better companies.