Edinburgh investment firm Par Equity hails record 2020 despite impact of pandemic

Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based investment firm that backs early-stage tech businesses, has hailed record figures despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Managing partner Paul Munn said: 'Par Equity is absolutely focused on finding and supporting the best new technology companies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.'

The firm said it had increased its new investment activity to a record £12.4 million in 2020, while also continuing its run of successful exits. It has now returned cash to investors every year since 2013.

The year closed with the firm having completed 35 investment transactions inside 12 months, up from a previous high in 2019.

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Additions to the portfolio included the likes of Siccar, an IT technology outfit that enables organisations to securely exchange information, and Integrated Graphene, an advanced materials business which has developed and patented a way to mass manufacture 3D graphene at low cost.

The past year also included the announcement of a £75m investment partnership with British Business Investments (BBI), which saw Par becoming part of the Regional Angel Programme and making its first investment in EC-OG, a specialist in subsea clean energy, located in Aberdeen.

The BBI deal complements the capital investment firm’s longstanding relationship with the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), for whom it is one of the largest and most active co-investors.

Andrew Noble, partner at Par Equity, said: “Another record year of investment activity means that investors are continuing to put their faith in us as a manager, and young tech companies are getting the much-needed capital to grow their companies.

“This is clearly good news, but what’s more important is that the companies we back are growing fast, hiring top talent, and eventually securing a successful return for all shareholders. In that regard, 2020 has been a huge success as we approach £100m of realisations for our investors.”

Managing partner Paul Munn said: “Par Equity is absolutely focused on finding and supporting the best new technology companies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.

“In 2020 we strengthened our business model adding new hires and launching initiatives such as our head-hunter panel, university partnerships and our regional investor network programmes. In doing so we have set a strong foundation for growth in 2021.”

The latest investments bring the total number of companies backed by Par Equity to more than 60, with in excess of 20 now exited.

Among the exits in the last 12 months was Symphonic, originally a spin-out from Edinburgh Napier University. The software company, which enables organisations to control access to confidential information, was sold to US internet security group Ping Identity.

Another exit, DeltaDNA, which originally took place in 2019, has continued to deliver value to investors in the form of paper stock in the acquirer, NYSE listed Unity Technologies.

Par said those “very encouraging” exits meant that it was increasing its profile and reputation across the UK as one of the “go to” venture capital players, particularly for tech companies in the north of the UK.

At the end of 2020, the firm was recognised as one of the top growth investors in the UK at the Growth Investor Awards in London.

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