Mercia strengthens Scottish commitment with increased funds, partnerships and people

Alistair Forbes
Alistair Forbes

Mercia led investments worth £3.5million in Scottish businesses in 2018, up from £1.5million the previous year. It also increased investment in its team and its relationships with its university partners, highlighting its role as one of the UK’s most active regional investors and its commitment to supporting ambitious and high-potential SMEs in Scotland.

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Mercia made investments in six Scottish companies during the year. These included new investments into Dundee software firm Kumulos which provides a mobile app management platform, and University of Edinburgh spin-out Invizius which is pioneering a treatment to help dialysis patients live longer. It also made follow-on investments into Cyan Forensics which develops digital forensic technology for law enforcement, SnapDragon which helps companies prevent the sale of counterfeit products online, blockchain specialist Wallet Services and sports performance analysis platform Coach Logic.

Mercia opened its Edinburgh office in 2015 which now hosts a team of three staff led by Dr Alistair Forbes, who is also Mercia’s Head of Software & the Internet. Mercia has partnerships with six Scottish universities – Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Napier, St Andrews, Heriot-Watt and Abertay. 2018 saw the first full year of operation of the most recent partnership, with the University of Edinburgh, leading to the investment into Invizius and the identification of several potential new spin-out opportunities.

During the year the group increased its third party funds under management from £350.0million to over £400.0million at 31 December. Growing by around 30 per cent a year, Mercia now has over 80 employees in eight locations nationwide and partnerships with 19 regional universities.

According to recent reports from Beauhurst, Mercia is one of the top four investors in university spinout businesses and one of the UK’s top four most active venture capitalists specifically focused on innovation.

Mercia has worked hard to build a reputation as a proactive and supportive investor. In a recent survey amongst its portfolio companies, 84% of respondents said they were likely to recommend Mercia to other entrepreneurs, with 75% having already done so.

Dr Alistair Forbes said:

“2018 has been a year of very positive developments for Mercia in Scotland as we have increased our investment on all fronts. Scotland has one of the most active technology ecosystems in the UK – we see tremendous opportunities as this continues to develop and mature and we are fully committed to playing our part by bringing to bear both investment capital and the extensive operational and business expertise that exists within Mercia as a whole and through our networks across the UK.”

Mark Payton, Chief Executive of Mercia Technologies PLC, said:

“Cities such as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham are increasingly important technology hubs, however venture capital remains heavily focused on London. Mercia has offices in all of these locations and as these latest figures show, it is addressing this shortfall by sourcing and backing exceptional businesses across the UK’s regions. Building on a successful 2018, I expect Mercia to continue to scale its activities into 2019.”

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