Anderson Strathern launches investment arm with energy tech deal

Legal firm Anderson Strathern has launched an investment arm, AS Capital, with an inaugural funding deal to back a Glasgow-headquartered energy tech business.

Equity Gaps Jock Millican (left) and Bruce Farquhar of Anderson Strathern. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Equity Gaps Jock Millican (left) and Bruce Farquhar of Anderson Strathern. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The Scottish legal practice has teamed up with Edinburgh-based angel syndicate Equity Gap to invest in energy sector instrumentation specialist Synaptec.

A spin-out from the University of Strathclyde, Synaptec produces systems that monitor current and voltage in complex electric power grids to maintain a stable energy supply.

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Anderson Strathern said it plans to make further deals alongside Equity Gap and flagged investment opportunities that it is “actively considering”.

Full details of the Synaptec transaction were not disclosed.

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Bruce Farquhar, chair of Anderson Strathern, said: “We are keen to promote ambitious high-growth companies and our involvement as an investor will lead to both the possibility of capital gains on exit while, just as importantly, enhancing our ability to advise on investment transactions for other companies.

“The energy and renewables sectors are areas of particular strength at Anderson Strathern and we’re excited about Synaptec’s market credentials, outlook and next phase of growth.

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“We know the Equity Gap team well, have worked alongside them for a number of years and are really pleased to have formally joined the syndicate. We already have a number of other deals which we are actively considering.”

In December, Anderson Strathern reported turnover of £22.8 million for the year to 31 August 2018, rising from £21.5m from the previous year, along with a 10 per cent increase in profits.

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Equity Gap has led total investments of approximately £50m since being founded in 2010.

Director Jock Millican, who is also chairman of angel capital association Linc Scotland, said: “Anderson Strathern has a strong reputation in corporate dealmaking, with a keen understanding of the [small and medium-sized enterprise] sector in Scotland.

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“As far as I am aware, there is no other law firm in Scotland investing in angel syndicate deals of this type and it is great to see a firm of lawyers being willing to promote high-growth Scottish companies in this way.

“We see this as a natural fit for Equity Gap, our members and our portfolio.”

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Synaptec recently secured second-round funding of £2.9m led by Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund, Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Strathclyde as it plans to scale up production, grow international sales and further develop its data analytics capability.

The company counts a number of major utility firms among its customer base, and founder and managing director Philip Orr has said that the investment reflects a drive “to make Scotland a global player in the energy sector”.

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He added: “The commitment shown by all of our investors has been overwhelming and represents an exciting new phase of growth and development for Synaptec that will enable us to make a positive and lasting impact on the global energy transition.”