Provider of radio frequency identification hardware, software and systems integration.

Commercial solar shading specialists with 80 years trading history in the UK.

Market leader in the supply of containment valves and integrated material handling equipment for the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and other process based industries.

Manufacturer and wholesaler of consumable products to the body art, autopsy and veterinary sectors.

The leading provider of custom 3D learning software solutions and serious games in Europe.

A Nottingham-based consultancy which works with local authorities and the NHS to help transform public services, has undergone a six-figure buy-out of its original investors.

The deal allows the management of Peopletoo to take full control of the business after acquiring the shares of the original investors, Coalfields Enterprise Fund, managed by Mercia Fund Managers, and Turning Point UK. It represents a 2.1 return on investment for both investors.

Peopletoo supports public sector bodies to improve efficiency and income generation, enhance performance and optimise social outcomes through innovative new operating models, operational change and digital services. The company advises on areas including Adult social care and health, children’s services, property and facilities management, environmental services, commercial procurement and digital services.

Established in 2009, it now employs around 16 staff in Nottingham as well as a team of associates throughout the UK. The business has grown turnover to £2.5m in the current year.

Mercia first backed the company in 2010, investing from the Coalfields Enterprise Fund and alongside Turning Point UK, the Midlands-based angel fund. Both Mercia and Turning Point subsequently provided further funding to support its ongoing growth.

Their shares have now been acquired by Maggie Kenney and Mike Butler, founders of the business.

Maggie Kenney said: “Mercia and Turning Point had the confidence to back our business at a very early stage. Their ongoing support has allowed us to put solid foundations in place for growth and invest in staff and our core propositions including digital services. They have been great investors and we have enjoyed their support and advice throughout our journey to date.”

Paul Taberner, Investment Director with Mercia, added: “As public sector bodies have come under pressure from spending cuts and increased demand, Peopletoo helps them find innovative solutions to transform services and ensure long-term sustainability. It has been very rewarding to work with the team over the years but, with the business now firmly established, we wish them all the best on the next stage of their growth journey.”

CoreRFID – the Skelmersdale-based company which is a leader in the design of electronic tracking systems – has completed a six-figure buy-out.

The deal provides an exit for its original investor, The Coalfields Enterprise Fund, managed by Mercia Fund Managers, and allows the management team to take full control of the business.

CoreRFID uses radio frequency identification(RFID) technology to track everything from plant and vehicles to product deliveries and legal files. The company, which employs nine people in the North West, serves an international client base including large corporates such as London Underground, ICL and BAE Systems, major supermarkets and law firms.

Mercia Fund Managers first backed the business at its launch in 2007 and has provided follow-on investment rounds to support its growth over the years.

CoreRFID’s three-strong management team – MD Munzi Ali, Sales Director Richard Harris, and Chairman Terry Allen – bought out part of Mercia’s stake in 2016 but have now acquired the remaining shares. The deal represents a 3.2 return on investment for Mercia.

Terry Allen, Chair of CoreRFID, said: “Setting up in business just before the credit crunch was not the most auspicious start and the first few years were tough. However Mercia supported us every step of the way, not only by providing funding but also practical advice and support.

“In recent years we have achieved a step change in the business and are now well placed to move forward as an independent. We already have a very strong presence in construction and manufacturing, and as advances in technology open up new opportunities in sectors such as professional services and entertainment, we are firmly focused on expansion.”

Paul Taberner, Investment Director with Mercia, added: “CoreRFID’s experience shows that tech start-ups need patient, long-term, investors like Mercia which can support them at each stage of their development. As the business is now firmly established, we wish the team all the best in exploiting the considerable opportunities ahead.”

The Coalfields Funds, managed by Mercia Fund Managers, have exited from Finch Consulting, a health and safety engineering consultancy that works across a variety of sectors and provides global services to companies, including Nestle and Merlin Entertainments. This exit from Finch Consulting takes us to three successful exits for the Coalfields Growth Fund which are part of the family of Enterprise Ventures Growth Funds.

Finch Consulting is a professional services provider of specialist legal insight and engineering consultancy to clients from a broad range of sectors, including finance, leisure and manufacturing.

In March 2012, Coalfields Enterprise Fund and the Coalfields Growth Fund invested £1.2million into Finch Consulting. The investment was made alongside a debt package from the Co-operative Bank.

The investment provided funding for a management buyout of the business from its original founder Bob Mitchell, who started the company in 1991 and remains with the business as an associate.

Paul Taberner, Investment Director at Mercia Fund Managers, said: “Finch Consulting provide valuable expertise in health and safety regulations and processes and has an impressive client base which has grown significantly over the last five years. We are pleased with the funds’ overall performance and have a number of existing investees performing strongly and reporting increased profitability.”

A business which was founded over a century ago by the UK’s first celebrity tattooist and is now Europe’s leading supplier of body art products has been sold by Enterprise Ventures in a deal which represents a significant return on investment.

Barber of Sheffield was acquired by RJD Partners. The deal equates to an internal rate of return (IRR) of 44.5% for Enterprise Ventures, which backed the company’s owners Tony and Stephanie Crane in a “cash-out scale-up” investment in March 2012 through the Enterprise Ventures Growth Fund and the Coalfields Funds which are managed by Enterprise Ventures.

Barber supplies a range of inks, needles, equipment, aftercare and hygiene products to over 30,000 individual accounts across 67 countries worldwide under the Barber DTS trade name. The company, which employs around 45 people in Barnsley, also provides specialist equipment and products to the medical and veterinary markets.

Its history dates back to 1900 when George Burchett-Davis opened a shop in the Isle of Dogs. George ‘Professor’ Burchett, as he was known, became one of the most famous tattoo artists of his day with clients including George V, King Alfonso VIII of Spain and King Frederick IX of Denmark. His business, Davis Tattoo Supplies (DTS), was passed on to his sons.

In 2006 it was acquired by Barber of Sheffield, which had been set up by husband and wife Tony and Stephanie Crane in 1990 as a medical supplies business but which had moved into the growing body art market.

Following the investment by Enterprise Ventures, Barber has been scaled up in partnership with the Cranes and transformed from a UK catalogue store to an export-focused e-commerce business. The company now operates sites in ten European languages and generates around 70% of its revenue online.

The business has doubled its EBITDA over the past three years through a combination of organic growth, fuelled by investment in premises, international websites and management, and acquisitions including that of French company Northstar Tattoo Supply in 2012 and Hull-based Powerline Tattoo Supplies in 2015.

In 2014 Richard Boston from Shop Direct joined as Managing Director while Craig Burns moved from Sheffield United to become Finance Director. Tony Crane will stay on as a Director of the company under RJD Partners’ investment.

Wayne Thomas of Enterprise Ventures said: “With a large number of small suppliers and few big players, the growing body art market offers major opportunities for consolidation. Barber has a proven track record to buy and build, and enter new territories. The current management team are now keen to lead the next stage of the company’s growth and RJD makes an ideal partner to support their ambitions.”

An estimated 20 million people in the UK and 100 million in Europe have at least one piece of body art. The US market, which is more mature than the UK, continues to grow at 10% a year.

Dave Graham and Pete Barkley of Dow Schofield Watts provided corporate finance advice to the vendors, while Ian Riggs, Craig Scott, Jonathan Gillow and Rhian Hughes of Hill Dickinson provided legal advice and Colin Smyth of RSM advised on tax.

The North’s leading supplier of commercial blinds has changed hands in a management buy-in backed by Enterprise Ventures.

The deal allows Rod Roberts-Dear to take control of Dearnleys in Wakefield and its sister company Pentel Contracts in Salford. Mr Roberts-Dear, whose previous roles include Managing Director within the automotive group Inchcape and Marketing Director of the tyre firm Continental, will now become Managing Director of the combined business.

The previous owners Andrew McHale, who was Managing Director, and his wife Rachel, the Finance Director, are planning to retire but will continue to act as consultants and Mr McHale will retain a minority shareholding.

Dearnleys and Pentel, which operate as one entity, are leading manufacturers and installers of blinds, solar shading solutions, and cubicle tracking systems to commercial and public buildings, with a primary focus in the North of England. The business, which supplies a range of products under its Astralux brand and also works with leading brands such as Silent Gliss, serves business clients including architects, contractors and building end-users.

It employs 40 staff across the two sites, with Dearnleys, which was established over 80 years ago, covering the area from North East down to the East Midlands and the South East and Pentel, established in the 1980s, covering the North West, the West Midlands and Wales.

Enterprise Ventures has invested from the Coalfields Growth Fund, one of its funds under management. Wayne Thomas, Investment Director with Enterprise Ventures, said: “Dearnleys and Pentel are leaders in their field in the North, with a sound management team and a reputation for quality and reliability. This is a profitable business which is showing strong growth and has potential for further expansion. With his track record for bringing new products to market and leading growth, Rod Roberts-Dear is well placed to make it a significant player in the market.”

Springboard Corporate Finance advised Rod Roberts-Dear on the acquisition. Shawbrook Business Credit provided debt funding and an invoice discounting facility.

Enterprise Ventures is part of Mercia Technologies PLC.