Van der Kuyl and Burns launch investment arm

Paddy Burns, Chris van der Kuyl and Gavin Anderson

Two of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl, have launched Chroma Ventures — a new investment arm for their portfolio of investments.

Burns and van der Kuyl are co-founders of games developer 4J Studios and best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles.

Chroma Ventures will “channel flexible capital into a range of early-stage and established businesses” with high-growth potential.

Burns and van der Kuyl have been active supporters – financially and practically – of a broad range of companies for several years, often in collaboration with other investors.

Their portfolio includes 10 direct investments that have grown into significant stakes in well-established businesses, such as TV ad measurement firm TVSquared, ready meal provider Parsley Box, commercial insurance distribution and data platform Broker Insights, and indie game studio Puny Astronaut.

The Chroma Ventures portfolio also includes a number of indirect holdings through LVP, the venture capital seed fund for the games sector, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) Ventures, the impact investment fund backing mission-led enterprises, and Seedhaus, the pre-seed stage investor.

Chroma Ventures will initially focus predominantly on firms based in Scotland and the rest of the UK, but with ambitions to broaden that outlook and seek opportunities globally.

It will typically make investments of between £500,000 and £5 million in support of exceptional individuals and teams taking an entrepreneurial approach to developing innovative ideas and technology.

Gavin Anderson has joined Chroma Ventures as an investment director and will be responsible for developing the portfolio.

Anderson has significant transactional experience from previous roles with Maven Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank (Structured Finance), EY and KPMG.

Van der Kuyl said: “Paddy and I have been investing in other people’s ideas and businesses for a while now and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with management teams and boards to help them realise the potential for growth that exists in these companies.

“We’ve been increasingly conscious of the need to put more structure around that activity, without losing the sense of freedom and flexibility that has defined our approach to date.

“That’s what we’re looking to do with Chroma Ventures and we’re delighted to have the benefit of Gavin’s energy and experience as we do so.”

Burns said: “Although technology is a thread that runs through our own back-stories and many of the companies we invest in, this is fundamentally about people.

“It is about providing great teams with the capital and advice they need to thrive, in the same way that Chris and I benefited from the support of experienced entrepreneurs and investors when we were starting out more than 20 years ago.”

Burns and van der Kuyl also have a commercial property business formerly known as Tayforth Properties which was responsible for developing Water’s Edge, the grade-A office development on Dundee’s dockside housing a number of its portfolio businesses.

Tayforth Properties has been rebranded as Chroma Developments.