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BGF Nottingham exits BioCity and celebrates strong run of investment activity

BGF News 26.04.2021.
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BGF has announced a successful exit from Nottingham-based life sciences incubation business, BioCity.

BGF backed BioCity in January 2019 with funding facilitating BioCity’s investment into a number of seed-stage life sciences businesses. BGF has also invested alongside BioCity in deals such as its investment into North West-headquartered proteomic-data science and diagnostics company, Kinomica, in November last year.

BioCity Group has been acquired by Trinity Investment Management (Trinity IM) and Harrison Street (Harrison Street Real Estate Capital) as part of a pre-existing joint venture.  The deal will see the merger of BioCity Group with Trinity IM’s science real estate arm, Knowledge Factory, to form a new company, We Are Pioneer Group.

Toby Reid, BioCity CEO said, “BGF’s support was integral in allowing BioCity Group to expand our offering to the UK’s life science community. We Are Pioneer Group is the exciting next step that provides the opportunity to create a fully integrated European life sciences platform to rival the scale of what the U.S. has to offer.”

Commenting on the BioCity exit, BGF’s Jon Earl said: “This is a successful exit for all involved with strong returns for all shareholders. It’s also a hugely positive story for the region, which pioneered the concept of a business incubator offering 360° support within a self-contained location. This has since been replicated across the UK, playing a key role in the success of the UK’s life sciences industry.”

The exit comes on the back of a series of new investments across the East Midlands, with nearly £30 million of capital deployed over the past six months as BGF continues to support the region’s growth economy businesses. These include investments into mobile data specialist and eSIM Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Jola Cloud Solutions Ltd; lock and hardware supplier Brisant Secure; Derbyshire housebuilder, Woodall Homes and fast-growth e-commerce business, UK Flooring Direct.

Based on Park Row, BGF opened a Nottingham office in January 2018. BGF’s regional model and belief in the potential of East Midlands’ growth businesses has been proven, having now backed 18 companies with a total £154 million invested.

BGF investor, Seb Saywood said: “Our recent investments demonstrate the resilience of the East Midlands, which is experiencing a high volume of local activity despite the obvious challenges. There have been seismic changes in almost all sectors, but this has also created opportunity, and the region is strong across a wide range of industries so is well placed to embrace these opportunities.”

Aaron Baker, investor at BGF, added: “The businesses we back are passionate and confident about their ability to do things better and continue to grow. They’re not ready to sell and feel there is more to do. There is also recognition that a well-funded, experienced investment partner can accelerate that growth and exit success stories such as BioCity are testament to this. We look forward to partnering with more businesses in the region to support their growth ambitions.”

BGF believes the next 12 months will create further prospects for deal activity in the East Midlands, with opportunities likely to arise from entrepreneurs looking to make acquisitions, enter new markets and potentially de-risk some of their own personal investment.