Manchester-based venture capital firm Praetura Ventures has made five new hires to its team of investment experts, including GC Angels’ Jessica Jackson, as it bolsters its team to support growing demand for VC funding.
Jess joins Praetura Ventures as an investment manager, and will dedicate her extensive experience to strengthening the firm’s commitment to providing founders with ‘more than money’ support.
Prior to joining GC Angels in December 2018, Jess worked in healthcare technology with the likes of Emis Health and Evergreen Life, gaining experience in M&A, start-up growth and angel investment. More recently, she has led investments into Guardian Angel, Collctiv and Xploro, and has also helped support funding rounds led by Praetura Ventures into Manchester-based workplace harassment platform Culture Shift.
Jess will drive new investments from Praetura’s EIS Growth Fund, as well as its new GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura. The £20m fund, launched in May, is aiming to support innovation and develop the Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington’s knowledge economy, as well as creating more jobs and boosting businesses’ international expansion. She will continue her role on the steering group of Fund Her North, which supports and promotes female entrepreneurs across the North of England.
Other new hires include Grace Sanderson and Michael Rees, who join the team as investment executives. Grace – who previously spent three years at Maven Capital Partners – will support the GMC Life Sciences Fund, which has already attracted more than 100 applicants for early stage funding since it launched. Michael joins Praetura Ventures from the Development Bank of Wales, where he specialised in technology venture investments, and will focus on supporting the firm’s EIS portfolio, which includes regional success stories such as PEAK, Culture Shift, BankiFi and Orka Technology.
Praetura Ventures has also recruited two new graduates as investment associates. Emily Bourne graduated with a linguistics degree from the University of Oxford this summer, where she also gained experience with a year abroad at Paris-based VC Partech. Stefano Smith gradutated from the University of Dundee in 2020, and has spent 18 months as a trainee financial planner at Forth Capital.
The five new hires to support growing demand means Praetura Ventures’ investment team has now doubled over the last 12 months, and has become one of the largest dedicated teams in the early-stage VC space.
It follows a period of strong growth across the Praetura Group – which includes Praetura Asset Finance, Praetura Commercial Finance, Praetura Invoice Finane, Kingsway Finance and Zodeq – as headcount has almost doubled to 140. The Group now also has more than £500m assets under management, while Praetura Ventures has now raised a total of £125m since its first EIS fund launch in 2019 and reviewed more than £3bn worth of investment opportunities this year.
Mark Lyons, director of investment at Praetura Ventures, said: “The calibre of these appointments signals the strength of support we’re looking to provide to promising early-stage businesses. Each of them bring different attributes and everyone’s so excited to welcome them to the team.
“The business environment in the UK is in a state of flux given the economic challenges facing us all. But this is typically when when start-ups thrive, as a recession breeds innovation and this is driving demand for VC funding. The challenge for founders now is securing the backing of an investor that truly understands both their business and their ambition, and is committed to their vision. Jess, Michael, Grace, Emily and Stefano joining the team will only enhance our ability to do just that.”