BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, invested nearly half a billion pounds into British businesses in 2018, in another record year of growth.With an average of one deal per week, BGF invested £288m into 51 new businesses across the UK and Ireland and provided £153m of follow-on funding to companies in its existing portfolio to support further growth. Since BGF began in 2011, it has invested over £1.85bn across 263 companies.
New businesses added to the portfolio in 2018 included BGF’s first investment in the Republic of Ireland since announcing the largest ever growth capital fund for Irish businesses, with €10m for Brindley Healthcare. BGF also made its first investment in the Highlands of Scotland, with £5m for care home operator Parklands Group.
BGF made several successful exits during the year including employee benefits provider Benefex, BGF’s first ever investment, software business Petrotechnics, opticians Duncan and Todd and email marketing platform Adestra.
In response to its increased investment activity, BGF opened new offices in Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast and Nottingham in 2018 and grew its investment team across all regions. A further highlight of 2018 was BGF being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category, the first investment company to have received this honour.
2018 also saw the launch of the Canadian Business Growth Fund, modelled on the BGF approach of providing patient, minority capital that keeps entrepreneurs in control of their business. The CBGF made its first investment in October.
Stephen Welton, CEO of BGF, commented: “2018 was a remarkable year for BGF, investing almost half a billion pounds into British businesses and expanding our reach both at home and abroad – and we’re not planning on slowing down, notwithstanding the undoubted cooling of the economy overall. Now more than ever smaller companies with a sustainable long-term business and market opportunity need support.
“Against such an unpredictable landscape, we’re seeing resilience, preparedness and continued ambition among Britain’s entrepreneurs. It’s also encouraging to see so many of these businesses recognise the even greater value of strong financial investment and support at times like these.
“There is though, a real risk of a silent but significant slowdown if companies put their investment plans on hold because of a perceived lack of funding or wider uncertainty. It’s critical that we work to ensure that motivated companies are not forced to down tools on their ambitions because of this.”