Par Equity extends investment ambitions
with North-East venture
Derek Bulmer to Chair the successful VC’s regional investment network
With 200 investors, 63 companies backed and 22 realisations, Par Equity hopes to expand its portfolio of investors and companies in the North-East
Venture capitalist Par Equity, named recently as the UKBAA Angel Group of the Year, is extending its successful investor network by setting up a regional network in North-East. Chaired by Derek Bulmer, CFO of Tekmar Group and former CFO of Kromek Group, the network will seek new investors to invest in early-stage disruptive technology companies from Newcastle, Teesside and the surrounding area.
As chair of the new venture, Derek brings unparalleled business and tech knowledge, having amassed over 30 years in finance, legal and tech. During his time at Kromek, the business grew from a University of Durham spin out to becoming an AIM-listed company. Bulmer led on raising VC capital and investment during this time, and so understands the journey first hand.
Derek said: “The North-East of England is close to my heart and is an industrious and creative region with excellent start-ups, however, there is little in the way of capital investment. There is a real gap in the market for a VC like Par to fuel the growth of young SMEs, not only with financial investment but by working collaboratively with them, connecting them, and providing the experience of our investors to help them succeed.”
“Becoming part of the Par network is an excellent opportunity for investors in the area, as it exposes us to a wide variety of investment options, and fellow investors, here in North-East and also further afield.”
The Par Equity North-East network is supported by an extensive network of executive search, legal and financial advisors. Together they will join Derek as the eyes and ears of the initiative, spotting potential investors to join the network, highlighting early-stage opportunities, and undertaking due diligence on potential investments.
Jason Hobbs, Chief Executive of the North East Fund said: “Par Equity will be a welcome addition to the North East ecosystem, and I am delighted that Derek will be chairing the regional network. It is always pleasing to hear of new sources of private finance coming into the region, and we at The North East Fund look forward to working with Par Equity wherever possible to increase the availability of investment capital to North East based companies.”
Although anchored in Scotland, Par Equity already has a track record south of the border but has identified the North-East as a real growth opportunity. In 2017 it invested in Nova Pangaea Technologies in Teesside, which is now demonstrating significant commercial progress and Par will shortly conclude a significant further investment into the firm.
To date, the firm has invested more than £95m in 63 companies, with investor returns across the 22 realisations, providing an investment return multiple of 3.4x and an impressive 25% IRR (source: Par Fund Management Limited as at 31 March 2021).
Operating a distinctive hybrid investment model, Par Equity combines its discretionary managed EIS Fund with the skills, expertise and contacts of its 200-strong investor network, who add value throughout the investment life cycle. 80% of investee companies have appointed a member of Par’s investment network to their boards. This investment strategy, fusing the experience of angel investors with the professionalism and rigour of a traditional venture capital fund manager, is part of a ‘turbocharge’ strategy for Par, delivering better outcomes for investors and entrepreneurs.
Paul Atkinson, Partner at Par Equity said: “We see huge potential in the North-East market for investors to be part of some of the UK’s most exciting innovative firms. At Par we are hands-on investors, providing experience and knowledge, as well as financial support.
“We are looking forward to discovering more opportunities among young companies in the area, and connecting them with our network of investors. Derek will be key to our success in the region, and his unrivalled knowledge of the local business landscape, as well as his first-hand experience of growing a small tech company into a listed business, makes the North-East an excellent place to expand our regional network strategy.”
The North-East is the latest addition to Par’s already successful network of regional branches, which includes Aberdeen and Belfast.