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17/07/2014

Increasing role partners and co-investors in Finance Wales' maturing portfolio

With over 30 companies in our tech-ventures’ portfolio, achieving our first exit in 2013 -14 was in an important milestone for Finance Wales and, hopefully, an indicator of future success.

Our portfolio is maturing, with a significant number of the early-stage, pre-revenue businesses starting to achieve commercial traction in their chosen markets and steady sales revenues.  Added to this, a number of the med-tech companies we’ve invested in have secured key regulatory approvals and have had patents granted.

As they expand, companies in our portfolio have the potential to make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy, creating high-calibre job opportunities and establishing local supply chains, etc.  The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we signed with Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science will also benefit local technology businesses as well as businesses wishing to locate in Swansea. 

Building on the success of our previous co-investment MoU with Fusion IP, we renewed it in 2013 – 14.  This relationship has seen us invest alongside Fusion IP in 5 Cardiff University spin-outs and two Sheffield University spin-outs which have moved to Wales. 

In addition to benefitting from significant levels of additional capital from our network of co-investment partners, young technology ventures can benefit from their expertise and commercial networks.  Working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s High Potential Starts programme also provides a valuable source of business support and investment advice.

Our investments in Laser Wire Solutions and Momentum Biosciences are excellent examples:

  • Having used a Smart Cymru research and development grant to develop its range of laser-based wire-stripping products, Laser Wire Solutions secured a £275,000 equity investment package from Finance Wales and a group of business angels syndicated through xénos.  This SEIS-compliant funding package enabled LWS to commercialise its current products and drive international sales.
  • Following its move to Cardiff, Momentum Biosciences (Momentum), which manufactures blood screening technology secured £1.5 million from Finance Wales as part of a significant co-investment with leading sector investors, Wren Capital and Longwall Ventures, as well as a number of existing angel investors.

Indeed, Momentum Biosciences was one of four young technology businesses attracted to Wales to take advantage of investment from Finance Wales and Wales’s wider innovation infrastructure.  As well as increasing the breadth of our portfolio, investing in businesses like Momentum is boosting the technology sector in Wales as well as the economy as a whole.