On 21st January 2016, Mercia Fund Management, a leading technology investor with a focus on the Midlands, the North and Scotland, gathered with key stakeholders at the Ramada Warwick Hotel to celebrate its eighth Annual General Meeting.
The evening was a time for celebration, but also reflection on how Mercia as a whole has grown and developed over the past year. Dr Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia Technologies, the AIM-listed PLC that provides direct investment to the 'emerging stars' of the Mercia Fund Management portfolio, said:
"2015 has been a critical year for Mercia as we've continued to build infrastructure and expand as a business, as well as expand the capital under management, both through our third party funds and our direct investments, resulting in a very diverse portfolio that we're very proud of."
New additions to the EIS & SEIS portfolio have included Manchester Imaging, a dental diagnostic software spinout from the University of Manchester, and wayve, a 360 degree advertising platform which works across all channels across all channels including mobile, desktop and digital outdoor.
However, as Chief Investment Officer Matt Mead adds, 2015 also saw further investment into existing portfolio companies, both from Mercia's third party funds under management, as well through direct investment via Mercia Technologies.
He says: "We've added something like six new businesses into the Mercia Fund Management portfolio, but grown a number of the existing investments we've already made to make them bigger businesses, so it's been a terrific year for growth."
Two such investments were reflected in the awards handed out during the event, with Virtual Reality developers nDreams winning 'Best Company', and Investment Director Rob Johnson winning 'Best Investment Deal' for Crowd Reactive, a user-generated content platform for events and venues.
CEO of Crowd Reactive Dan Strang said:
"We were a start-up of two people when Mercia first met us, and they've been growing incredibly in the same way as we have over the last couple of years."
Mercia has not only expanded its people – it’s also expanded its presence.
Mark Payton says: “2015 was a great year for us in terms of underlining our commitment to the Midlands, the North and Scotland. We added five new university partners from Liverpool, York, Strathclyde and Abertay to our deal flow pipeline, and we also opened a new office in Edinburgh to tap into the wealth of technology start-up businesses available in Scotland.”
Looking ahead to 2016, CEO Mark Payton believes the only way is up.
He says: "Our main goals at Mercia for 2016 really build on the successes of 2015, which include further scaling our model, further building our presence across the UK, and building a stronger and more diversified portfolio within our third party funds, which will lead on to stronger direct investments over time."
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