2017 has been a year of growth for Mercia, which has in part been enabled by the continued growth of the Group’s regional presence and significant increase in its funds under management.
During the year, Mercia invested over £48.0million nationally across the group, highlighting its role as one of the UK’s most active technology investors and a key source of funding and scaling for regional SMEs.
The company opened new offices in Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds and continued to expand its team. It now has over 70 people in eight locations across the UK, and has partnerships with 19 universities, with the University of Edinburgh being a new addition in 2017.
It also increased its third party funds under management from £220.0million at the start of the year to in excess of £350.0million as at 31 December 2017. The increase follows its appointment by the British Business Bank in February 2017 to manage more than £108.5million in new debt and equity funds from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Funds. In December it also announced the first closing of EV Growth II fund, having raised an initial £45.1million from institutions and private investors.
During 2017 Mercia invested £25.9million nationally from its third party funds under management and £22.5million in direct investments in portfolio companies including Oxford Genetics, nDreams, Warwick Audio Technologies, Impression Technologies, Medherant and Intechnica. Its third party funds also realised £34.5million from their investment in software automation specialist Blue Prism Group plc, representing a 55x return. During the year Mercia rebranded its fund management subsidiaries, which include Enterprise Ventures and Mercia Fund Management, to Mercia Fund Managers.
Julian Viggars, Head of Technology Investments, said: “The success of companies like Blue Prism shows how Mercia is succeeding in finding hidden value in the regions outside London. In 2017 we have increased our funds under management by over 50%, which means that we can direct even more investment to these underserved regions to create jobs and prosperity and generate returns for investors.”
Mark Payton, Chief Executive of Mercia Technologies PLC, said: “During 2017 Mercia has continued to strengthen its regional presence, build its investment portfolio, its team and its network of university partners. The Government’s recent Patient Capital Review highlighted the importance of long-term investment to build the businesses of the future. Mercia’s Complete Capital Solution model does just that. By identifying innovative regional businesses with high-growth potential, and providing them with patient investment and practical support at each stage of the cycle, we can turn them into global players whilst delivering value for our shareholders.”