Mercia EIS Funds

Forward Group takes equity stake in Mercia Fund Management

Henley in Arden, 18 February 2013. Venture capital fund manager Mercia Fund Management has today announced that Forward Group, an evergreen private equity fund, has become a shareholder. The move strengthens Mercia Fund Management’s position as a provider of venture capital and related services. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Run by a team of experienced investment professionals, Mercia Fund Management has a strong deal flow resulting partly from the investment team’s relationship with eight universities which have been a key source of deal flow, due diligence and expertise.

Forward Group’s strategic relationship with Mercia Fund Management marks the culmination of a longstanding relationship between the two companies. Since 2006, Forward Group has been working with the team at Mercia Fund Management to support scalable businesses with a particular emphasis on university spin outs.

The new relationship accelerates Mercia Fund Management and Forward Group’s ambitions to build a fully integrated financial services business providing ‘Intelligent Capital’, portfolio ‘Support Services’ and a dedicated ‘Incubator Space’ for invested businesses across the Central England region.

Mercia Fund Management’s existing investment portfolio companies will benefit from: a larger investment pool as Forward Group will co-invest with Mercia Fund Management; cost effective facilities and access to fully integrated support services.

The state-of-the-art business incubator and office facilities are located at Forward House, Henley-in-Arden.

Ray Chamberlain, Chairman of Forward Group: “At Forward Group, we have a passion for developing high growth potential businesses. There is a strong cultural and business fit between our two organisations and, through our equity stake in Mercia, we are able to work with Mercia Fund Management on our jointly held strategic ambitions.”

Mark Payton, Managing Director of Mercia Fund Management: “The agreement with Forward Group is transformational for us and supports our long-term goal to accelerate the development of commercially successful businesses funded by Mercia Fund Management. The partnership is also a strong vote of confidence in our team and its ability to identify and mentor companies that are capable of providing sustainable businesses and profitable exits for investors.”

Following the successful launch of the Mercia Growth Fund 1 in 2012, and as a first joint initiative, Mercia Fund Management will be launching the Mercia Growth Fund 2 (an EIS/SEIS hybrid fund) in March 2013 to invest in the 2013/14 tax year.


About Mercia Fund Management

Mercia Fund Management (MFM) is a venture capital fund manager with over £17 million under active management.

In 2000 Mercia Fund 1 was established as a seed fund providing support and capital to spin out projects from the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick. In 2007, Mercia Fund 1 was enlarged and its university base expanded to cover eight universities. Also in 2007, Mercia Fund 2 was established. Mercia Fund 1 (circa £9.5m) is an evergreen fund, investing at seed level in early stage projects from its university partners. Mercia Fund 2 (circa £5m) is a private fund that invested in later stage businesses; this fund finished making new investments in January 2012. Mercia Growth Fund 1, a unique hybrid SEIS / EIS fund, was raised in 2012 reaching circa £2m in size. MFM is an FSA authorised and regulated fund manager under FSMA (FRN: 524856).

About Forward Group

Forward Group is a private equity fund with over £100m of assets under management. The fund was set up in 1999 by Ray Chamberlain one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. We are keen to support our investee companies not only with funds but also with operational, financial and strategic support where necessary.

Forward Group plc and its wholly owned subsidiary, Forward Venture Management Limited, make and manage investments of between £250,000 and £10m in young and growing companies in the UK.