The biggest investments in fast-growth UK businesses in 2015

Want to know which investors backed the biggest deals of 2015? And which companies are burning through chunky VC rounds? Find out here…

Speak to entrepreneurs with a healthy slug of seed capital and perhaps a Series A round behind them and you’ll often hear the same refrain: if you need to complete a big follow-on round the UK may not be the best place to do it.

A report published almost precisely a year ago appeared to confirm it.

But times are changing as the series of high-value transactions completed last year shows. Some very big deals got away – and we covered them here on Growing Business.

Over the following pages you’ll find out which fast-growing companies raised more than £10m and who backed them. There are more than 40 major venture capital deals in total, rising in ascending order and climaxing with the biggest deal of 2015.

And the watermark for investment has lifted at the buy-out end of the market too, suggesting that entrepreneurs seeking an exit at some point this year may be able to exploit rising interest in growth companies.

Private equity investor Lyceum Capital and Cass Business School monitored transactions via their UK Growth Buyout Dashboard. Analysis of private equity deals throughout 2015 found that £3.43bn was invested across 87 transactions with a value of between £10m and £100m.

And small (to use the term loosely!) and mid-sized companies have proved the driving force behind such activity. In the first half of last year some £825m was ploughed into 28 deals with deal values of between £10m and £50m. This figure rose in the second half of the year too.

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Partner at Lyceum Capital Andrew Aylwin, noted the shift: “Britain’s small and medium-sized companies have always been a strong feature of private equity-led M&A activity. These figures show this trend is accelerating, most notably at the smaller end of the market where private equity often has a greater opportunity to drive transformational growth, value creation and investor returns.

“Our own experience has also shown that companies at this scale are more insulated from macroeconomics and more able to change course if market conditions do become more challenging.”

The landscape for scale-ups in the UK is evolving; the access to larger pots of money and a greater appetite for risk looks set to enable more British companies to compete on a global scale.

Which has to be good news.


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