Spotlight on the Northern VCTs Fund

30th November, 2020

Since 2015 the Northern VCTs have achieved 26 exits from the mature portfolio generating proceeds of £183.2 million and an average return multiple of 2.7x (as at September 2019).  

It’s a track record which speaks for itself.

Today, as part of the Mercia Group (having been acquired from NVM Private Equity in 2019), the fund has significant liquidity and the team is actively looking for new, VCT qualifying businesses to back.

Meet Investment Manager – Charlotte Barttelot

Charlotte joined the Northern VCTs in 2018 and is responsible for transacting and managing investments across all sectors. She is a specialist in technology and life sciences investments having spent five years at Silicon Valley Bank focussing on growth to late-stage technology companies in Europe and the United States.  She has a background in pharmacology and spent time working at Citi Investment Bank.

What were the synergies between the Northern VCTs and Mercia which led to the acquisition?

The VCT’s approach to investment management was identical to Mercia’s. It’s all about being able to add value once the initial transaction has been completed; this is something which is core to us both. We were already syndicated partners on one investment, Voxpopme, and our teams have recently completed a further syndicated round into Currentbody, and I am sure there are many more syndicated deals to come given the synergies in our approach.

Has COVID-19 affected your deal flow?

Our approach to generating new deals has changed somewhat, clearly most of our origination has been done digitally, or through telephone calls. Compare this to last year when this would have all been done at face-to-face meetings, and networking events. That said, we still managed to complete deals since the first lockdown, with a few more to come before year end and an interesting pipeline to take us into 2021.

What’s the most interesting VCT investment from 2020?

We’re fortunate enough to have done several really exciting investments – but if I had to single one transaction out then it would be OddBox. The team has a strong sustainability angle, and this has resonated well with customers which has fueled significant growth since we invested at the beginning of the year. The team have performed particularly well to harness the opportunity living in a post COVID world and scaled the operations of the business to meet the demand,

What sort of deals are you looking for?

We are sector agonistic and looking for a range of businesses, but they all have one thing in common – a strong management team with ambition.  We look for companies that have gained  market traction, but what that traction looks like will vary from sector to sector. For example, in software businesses these will typically be able to show revenues of £1million or more, but for medical technology or life science companies, where commercial milestones are often later down the line, this may be FDA approval or perhaps other strategic partnerships.

We are interested to talk to members of the NED network about any opportunities they may have, even if it’s just to give some guidance around VCT eligibility, we’d be happy to help where we can. Please email info@mercia.co.uk.

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