Tech is back!

MTI Partners, one of the leading venture capital firms providing risk capital to early-stage technology companies, won the coveted Venture Capital Fund of the Year at the recent Investor AllStars Awards, the pre-eminent awards ceremony for the UK technology venture capital industry.

‘This award is very welcome indeed,’ said MTI chief executive Ernie Richardson, ‘as it highlights the contribution this firm has made to this industry over the past two decades.

‘Of course, the other issue it highlights is that technology venture capital is slowly becoming very respectable again. It has been out of fashion for quite a while, but we, and others like us in the industry, are proving that you can see good returns. We have made four great realisations/re-evaluations this year, with the AIM flotation of Saratel (a mobile antenna maker) a particular highlight of the earlier part of the year, and the recent [£3.95 million] sale of iOra to Corpora a satisfying deal to complete.’

In all, MTI has around £150 million under management, with its fourth fund accounting for over £104 million. ‘I’m very confident of the year ahead as the resurgence of interest in technology is gaining momentum,’ he concludes.

Matrix – the VCT champion
Picking up the Venture Capital Trust of the Year Award was Matrix Private Equity Partners, which advises Triven VCT, TriVest VCT and the three Matrix Income & Growth VCTs.

The judges were impressed not only with Matrix’s record of fundraising during 2004/05, but with the ‘impressive level of investments and exits achieved’ and the ‘strategic and commercial advice’ it dispenses to the companies in its portfolio.

Mark Wignall of Matrix said winning at Investor AllStars – which he labelled the ‘Technology Venture Capital Oscars’ – was particularly pleasing given the stiff competition in the industry, saying, ‘we have joined the best of breed in managing VCTs.’

Richards romps home
The Young Personality of the Year award was swept up by Jamie Richards of Foresight Venture Partners.

Having cut his technology teeth with the likes of Citibank and Freeserve in the 90s, Richards joined Foresight in 2000 and has played a key role in making it one of the highest-profile players in this arena.

He was the crucial investor behind the flotation of Oxonica (Europe’s leading nano-technology company) this year and has also invested in Southampton University spin-out Nanotecture, Nico Rogerson’s Aigis Blast Protection, and business VoIP provider AlwaysOn.

Commenting on the award, the proud Welshman said, ‘Too many Welsh role models are wrapped up in singing (Charlotte Church, Tom Jones) and rugby (Bridgend-tanned Gavin Henson) so it’s nice to win an award for venture capital investing.’

Round-up of the rest
Exit of the Year was awarded to Cazenove Private Equity for KVS – ‘an impressive exit in financial terms and the growth has also been spectacular,’ said the judges – while International Deal of the Year went to iCurie Lab Holdings for its $17 million private placement in July and its shift from the UK to the US.

The Regional Venture Capital Fund gong went to The Capital Fund, the Greater London backer of SMEs, while the London Business Angel Network picked up the Private Investor Network of the Year honour.

Its ‘demonstrable track record of supporting successful and innovative companies’ secured the University Challenge Fund award for the Manchester Technology Fund and Phil Cammerman, of YFM Group, picked up the Judges’ Award for his contribution to the industry over the past 25 years.

Phil is director of the British Smaller Companies VCT, The British Smaller Technology Companies VCT 1 & 2 (the first is one of the best performing VCTs in its class) and Connect Yorkshire.


Venture Capital Fund of the Year

Exit of the Year
Cazenove Private Equity

Venture Capital Trust of the Year
Matrix Private Equity Partners

International Deal of the Year

Regional Venture Capital Fund of the Year
The Capital Fund

Private Investor Network of the Year
London Business Angels

University Challenge Fund of the Year
Manchester Technology Fund

Young Personality of the Year
Jamie Richards – Foresight Venture Partners

Corporate Venturer of the Year
Intel Capital

The Judges’ Award
Phil cammerman – YFM

Leslie Copeland

Leslie Copeland

Leslie was made Editor for Growth Company Investor magazine in 2000, then headed up the launch of Business XL magazine, and then became Editorial Director in 2007 for the online and print publication portfolio...

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