UK government-backed Capital for Enterprise, a venture capital fund of funds, has given Beringea a £20m funding boost to target digital start ups. Beringea Digital Ventures will also receive a further £10m from private investors, which will be used to invest in growing UK companies that utilise digital platforms and technologies. The private equity and investment banking firm will create a new ECF Beringea Digital Ventures fund using the capital.
London-based Beringea will now seek to make investments in the digital media arena, supporting creative businesses through the inflexion point to bring products to wider national and global markets.
Beringea has over 20 years of media investing experience and has invested in nearly 100 UK businesses. Last year it investmented in digital agency iLG Digital and in 2001 it invested in digital curriculum service Espresso Education.
In 2006 the firm’s investment in Mergermarket, the financial information provider, generated total returns of 14 times the original investment after the business had been successful in growing internationally.
Trevor Hope, Beringea’s Chief Investment Officer commented: “We are all aware of the initial impacts of digital media on traditional industries such as music, advertising and education, but we are still in the early stages of fundamental change. Innovation will continue and, importantly, it will encompass not just smarter technology or cool applications but also new consumption, pricing and distribution models.
“The UK continues to be a strong global force in the creative industries and the mission of the fund is to combine creatively strong UK digital businesses with robust business models which can be developed internationally.
“I am delighted the Government has dedicated this funding and support to the commercial development of our UK digital businesses. Beringea has a proven track record in this sector and I am very pleased that we have been chosen to establish and manage this fund.”
The ECF programme, launched in 2006, now comprises a portfolio of eight active funds with £215m (€246.2m) with which to make investments. The government provided £142m (€162.6m) of the sum, with a further £73m (€83.6m) from private investors.
To date £40m (€45.8m) has been invested through the funds in 45 UK businesses.
Ken Cooper, managing director of equity for CfEL, said, “The ECF programme is a major part of Capital for Enterprise’s portfolio. Out imperative is to help grow viable SMEs across the UK. Bringing Panoramic and Beringea on board will strengthen that portfolio and extend out ability to invest even further.”