Praetura Ventures has hit the headlines after raising a milestone £100m in funding since our first EIS fund launch in 2019.
As a result of the news, which follows our most recent fund close, we’re now looking to deploy c. £15m into around 10-15 tech and life sciences businesses across the remainder of 2022, predominantly in the North of England.
Out of our portfolio of 27 businesses, almost two thirds are based in the North, highlighting our long-term commitment to funding the region’s economic growth.
We’ve also seen over £1bn worth of investment opportunities already this year, with businesses across multiple sectors reaching out to us for help funding their growth. In addition, the Praetura Ventures investment team has completed eight investments in the first quarter of 2022.
These include our £1.5m investment into the Manchester-based start-up Sparkbox, which uses AI to help major retail brands, such as River Island, make better stock buying decisions and reduce profit losses. We also invested £3m into Orka Technology Group, an innovative SaaS business that provides platform-based solutions to help create a more seamless experience for shift workers and their employers.
To service our growing pipeline, which sees us assess 200 new early-stage opportunities a month, we’ve also made three new hires to our investment team. These include serial entrepreneur Tania Rahman, who previously founded her own award-winning London restaurant Chit Chaat Chai. Tania joins us as an investment manager and will be responsible for evaluating early-stage investment opportunities and working with the team to transact deals.
In addition, we’ve also welcomed investment executive Mahesh Santiapillai, who brings eight years’ industry experience, having previously been an associate at leading financial institutions such as UBS and LGT Capital Partners.
Joining Tania and Mahesh is client services manager Martin Kelly, who we recently welcomed to the distribution team. Martin brings with him over 16 years of experience from his time AJ Bell. Later in the year Mo Hussain will also join us as a business development manager.
In January 2021, we also appointed a further three Operational Partners in Helen Verwoert, Andy Barrow and Paul Johnson, taking our Operational Partner Programme to eight industry heavyweights.
David Foreman, our founder and managing director, said: “In the three years since launching our first EIS fund, we have been aiming to become the venture capital investor of choice for northern founders of early-stage companies. Throughout our journey, we have put more than money at the heart of what we do, knowing first-hand that businesses need far more support than capital alone at this stage of their growth journey.
“In that time, we have had the privilege of supporting some truly exceptional businesses and founders. Over the next 12 months, we plan to invest into even more EIS-qualifying businesses across multiple sectors, knowing the vast contribution they provide to the economy and our everyday lives.”