Scottish Equity Partners exits health tech outfit

SEP partner Jan Rutherford described the deal as a 'great strategic fit'. Picture: Contributed
SEP partner Jan Rutherford described the deal as a 'great strategic fit'. Picture: Contributed
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Venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has exited from another investment following the recent sale of its holding in Skyscanner.

Exco InTouch, a health technology specialist backed by SEP and Albion Ventures, has been bought for an undisclosed sum by US-based ERT, which specialises in patient data collection for use in clinical drug development.

READ MORE: Chinese tech giant swoops on Skyscanner

SEP partner Jan Rutherford, who is also non-executive director at Exco InTouch, said the Nottingham-based firm is “widely recognised as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the UK, quadrupling its turnover over the last three years and increasing its staff to over 180 skilled personnel”.

She added: “SEP has actively supported the company in driving technological innovation for both clinical trial and digital health programmes and expanding its partnerships with pharma companies in both the US and Europe. The acquisition by ERT is a great strategic fit, opening up further opportunities for progression and we wish the talented team continued success with this exciting next stage of growth.”

SEP, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, was the largest shareholder in Edinburgh-based “unicorn” Skyscanner, which last month agreed to a £1.4 billion takeover by Chinese group Ctrip.com.

The venture capital firm owned about a third of Skyscanner, having made its initial investment in 2007. At the time, the travel search engine employed fewer than 30 people and had revenues of about £1 million. It now has more than 800 staff and reported revenues of £120m for 2015 – an increase of 28 per cent compared with the previous year.

SEP managing partner Calum Paterson said: “We are pleased to have helped Skyscanner grow from modest beginnings into the global online travel business that it is today. The company’s founders, management team and employees deserve great credit for what has been achieved. We believe Ctrip will be the perfect partner for Skyscanner and that it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Skyscanner co-founder and chief executive Gareth Willliams added: “Skyscanner’s position as a world-leading travel search business would not have been possible without the great support we have had from SEP. They have been a consistently engaged, informed and astute partner throughout our journey.”

The sale of Skyscanner to Ctrip is one of Europe’s largest ever venture capital deals and SEP’s third unicorn exit in recent years, following on from Bluetooth technology company CSR and life sciences company Biovex.

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