An Edinburgh-based corporate advisory firm co-founded by tyre entrepreneur Mike Welch has taken a stake in a burgeoning land remediation company specialising in the removal of Japanese knotweed and invasive plants in the UK property market.
Full Circle Partners has taken what is understood to be a 10 per cent stake in TP Knotweed Solutions. The latter is eyeing further expansion and its client base has grown to include JCDecaux, Bellway Homes, Midland Metro Alliance, Birmingham City Council, Knight Frank and the NHS, plus thousands of private homes across the country.
It comes as it moves increasingly into the commercial sector and eyes likely consolidation in the UK.
TP Knotweed Solutions was founded in 2011 by MD Tom Payne, and provides remediation services to land-owners, developers and public bodies for complex sites where Japanese knotweed, among other contaminants, has prevented property and land transactions, caused planning permission problems and halted or delayed construction.
Japanese knotweed has its origins in Asia but in the UK has no natural predators and easily out-competes other native species due to its accelerated growth rates. In the summer it can grow by ten centimetres a day, and if left untreated, emerging shoots can quickly exploit weaknesses in brick, tarmac and underground pipework, causing costly damage to everything from roads to buildings.
TP Knotweed Solutions says that after either its “robust” five-year herbicide treatment programme or complete excavation for development sites, a ten-year insurance-backed guarantee is issued.
TP Knotweed and Full Circle Partners see scope for consolidation in an industry currently characterised by small, regional players. TP Knotweed, headquartered in Banbury, Oxfordshire, operates nationwide and is mulling further expansion over the next 12 months as its client base grows.
Payne said: “We have remediated thousands of sites to date, enabling development, mortgage lending and peace of mind to clients. The industry is at something of a tipping point and with our commercial sector business beginning to really take off, having Mike and Full Circle Partners behind us and opening doors through its network is helping us to make great strides.”
Full Circle Partners director Welch said: “We were impressed with Tom from the start and he’s built the best team in the UK to address what is an ever-bigger problem for householders and companies alike. We’re excited to be backing TP Knotweed during their next phase of growth.”
Welch founded online tyre business Blackcircles.com, selling it to French giant Michelin for £50 million in 2015, and he bought the assets of online fashion retailer Atterley from administrators at KPMG the following year.
Atterley is part of the portfolio of Full Circle Partners, along with wearable tech start-up PlayerData, with the advisory firm launched in 2017 to help early-stage companies along the road to growth. It also has an office in Singapore.
Welch said he had spotted a gap in the market after engaging with venture capitalists over funding and then selling Blackcircles.com to Michelin.