Edinburgh syndicate Equity Gap praises 'leadership and determination' of founder amid major change at top
Founder Jock Millican moves to a new position of executive chairman, having developed his vision of a member-led angel syndicate to create the sixth most active group in the UK. Under the changes, Fraser Lusty becomes managing director, while Rhona Bree joins Equity Gap from Scottish Enterprise as a senior investment and portfolio manager. She is said to bring a “deep understanding” of the early-stage investment market, with some ten years’ experience of supporting fledgling companies from initial investment to follow-on funding and successful exits.
Lusty said: “Everyone at Equity Gap is indebted to Jock for his forward thinking, leadership and determination in establishing the Equity Gap brand and portfolio. We are delighted to welcome Rhona to the team given her knowledge of and connections across the early-stage ecosystem in Scotland. My immediate focus for Equity Gap is to develop new strategic relationships, open up new capital opportunities and partnerships, and attract significant new investors to Scotland, to create jobs in sectors where tech-led disruption has a key role to play.”
He added: “The high quality of Equity Gap’s portfolio companies is generating growing commercial success. These businesses are projecting a combined turnover of £90 million in 2023 and the portfolio value on paper has now reached £300m. Equity Gap’s maturing portfolio is generating increasing M&A [merger and acquisition] interest, which we expect to create positive outcomes for investors over the coming year.”
In January, the syndicate hailed another record year with total investments to date into portfolio companies reaching the £200m milestone. During 2022, members of the syndicate invested more than £7m across 30 funding rounds leveraging total funding of £70m, more than double the figure for 2021. The Equity Gap portfolio includes Amiqus and Sunamp, the East Lothian-based thermal storage company, both winners in the 2022 Deloitte Fast50, as well as Trojan Energy, which announced a record contract with Barnet Council in London to deploy the firm’s electric vehicle charging points.
Equity Gap said the high quality of its investee companies had generated “growing commercial success”. These businesses are projecting a combined turnover of £90m in 2023 and the portfolio value on paper has reached £300m. New investment partners include Guinness Ventures, Ascension Ventures, Clean Growth Capital and the Business Growth Fund.
All four life science companies in the syndicate’s portfolio - Enterobiotix, Neurocentrx, Pneumagen and Pneumowave - secured large scale-up funding rounds in the calendar year and are now undertaking clinical trials aiming to evidence efficacy and generate pharma interest. Equity Gap said it had moved into 2023 with “clear ambition to deliver positive outcomes for both the investors and companies”, as the maturing portfolio generates increasing merger and acquisition interest.
Lusty said at the time: “2022 has seen outstanding progress from companies across all sectors in trading and scale up fundraising, despite a challenging economic environment. The numbers speak for themselves, but we are particularly proud that our high quality portfolio has attracted significant new investors to Scotland.”
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