Venture capital track record
Track record is crucially important for any specialist asset manager and our oldest fund, the Rising Stars Growth Fund is a great example of this.
It was raised in 2003 and targeted entrepreneurs and early-stage ideas across the North West of England, operating out of Mercia’s second largest office in the heart of the city of Manchester.
We invested from software through MedTech, AgTech and FoodTech to specialty Pharma, in 35 deals. The fund spawned four listed businesses, Provexis, Science in Sport and Plant Impact, but the standout success was Blue Prism.
We were the first investor in 2004 when the founders, Alistair Bathgate and Dave Moss, came to us after they had won their first bespoke deal with Barclays. We invested £900,000 over the following two years to support their progress and help build their team. They moved to a channel partner model as their newly coined ‘robotic process automation’ software started to gain traction. From there the story is impressive, following its AIM listing in 2016 and stellar subsequent growth to a market value of over £1.4billion. The progress continued and ultimately resulted in a staggering £95.0million profit on the investment, more than 100 times return on original investment cost.
“Mercia made its first investment in Blue Prism through the Rising Stars Growth Fund in 2004 and remained a supportive investor for many years whilst the business scaled to the size which it is today. We have been grateful for both the investment and the significant expertise of the investment team, in particular Julian Viggars, who has played an important role in our success.” – Alistair Bathgate, CEO - Blue Prism
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