Equity Gap on cloud nine after record year of investment

Jock Millican, left, and Fraser Lusty of Equity Gap. Picture: Contributed
Jock Millican, left, and Fraser Lusty of Equity Gap. Picture: Contributed
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Edinburgh-based business angel syndicate Equity Gap is preparing to expand its team after completing a record year of investment.

The group, which describes itself as Scotland’s most active business angel syndicate, undertook 18 deals in 2018, a record six of which transacted at more than £1 million.

These included follow-on rounds for peer-to-peer platform LendingCrowd and heat battery developer Sunamp, as well as seed investments in life sciences firm EnteroBiotix and Drinkshare, parent of beer subscription outfit Flavourly.

It concluded the year with a £2.8m round for sports technology business Shot Scope.

The group invested £5m last year, taking the total amount invested in its portfolio since it was founded in 2010 to £12.5m.

Factoring in the involvement of partners and other stakeholders, it led a total investment into the portfolio of £17.5m in the past 12 months.

The value of the group’s investments rose by £6.9m over the course of the year to £15.5m, while the total notional value of the companies within its portfolio increased by £23.3m to £58.1m.

Equity Gap also gained a further 40 investors, taking its pool of active business angels to 160, while the group’s headcount rose to six on the back of increased revenues and investment in systems and staff.

It expects to make a further two appointments in the coming year as it continues to expand operations and forge closer links with the mergers and acquisitions market.

Last year’s investments included a funding round for Herefordshire-based corrugated cardboard maker Interpac, the first time Equity Gap has worked with a company outside Scotland.

Director Jock Millican, who is also chairman of the Linc Scotland angel capital association, said: “This cash has allowed the companies in our portfolio to ramp up their own growth, creating jobs and helping to grow the wider economy here in Scotland.

“We work in partnership with the Scottish Investment Bank and with other business angel syndicates, demonstrating the strength of the funding ecosystem and the availability of capital for the right companies.

“What’s most exciting for me is that we’ve continued to back start-up companies, with other investors introducing us to opportunities throughout a range of sectors.”

This comes in the wake of Edinburgh-based syndicate Archangels also hailing a record year, after leading £22.4m of investment in Scottish tech and life sciences businesses during 2018.