BGF reports £60m of Scottish investments in 2021

Patrick Graham

Growth investor BGF said it invested almost £60 million in the Scottish growth economy in the last 12 months – more than double the previous year’s figures.

BGF is a long-term investor that makes initial investments of between £1 million to £15 million for a minority equity stake.

Deals completed in 2021 by BGF’s Scotland team took place across a diverse range of sectors, from technology to healthcare to consumer goods, while also supporting a range of company growth stages – from early-stage through to IPO.

In the last 12 months, BGF completed an £8 million investment in Edinburgh-headquartered luxury leather goods brand Strathberry to help scale the business in global markets, while Glasgow IT group Kick ICT received an £8.7 million investment to support the firm’s growth plans.

BGF also provided Aberdeen-based oil and gas services firm isol8 with £3.5 million of growth capital to support its long-term growth plans, including increasing its staff by 50% over the next 12 months.

Additional BGF investments in 2021 included: £5.2 million in Odro, a Glasgow business that provides video interviewing and engagement software to the recruitment industry; £5 million in Fife-headquartered natural pet food producer Bella & Duke; part of a $4 million investment round in Edinburgh-based Desana, a flexible hybrid workspace platform for global employers.

Further, BGF completed its second cornerstone investment in an IPO in 12 months, after investing £7 million in The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC), the specialist retailer of premium single cask, single malt Scotch whisky and other spirits, as part of its admissions to trading on AIM in June.

This investment followed BGF’s £6.3 million cornerstone backing of Livingston based Calnex Solutions Plc in September 2020.

Patrick Graham, BGF’s head of Scotland, said: “This year has broken records for investment in the Scottish market, with nearly £60 million of growth capital deployed to a range of businesses from early stage through to scaleups and also IPOs.

“The positive momentum of the team across Scotland demonstrates the strength of our investment model, and the ability of BGF to deploy capital at scale to the brilliant businesses strengthening our economy.

“This has proved all the more important when faced with the ongoing challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were set up to back ambitious teams operating across a wide range of sectors and a variety of growth plans.

“The businesses we’ve invested in have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to growth and as their partner, we share in their confidence to support these goals.”

BGF’s existing portfolio companies in Scotland also continued to perform well in 2021.

Following a £2.7 million investment from BGF in 2020, Stirling based paint and accessory retailer The Paint Shed opened its 18th store in Aberdeen in May.

Walker Precision, the Glasgow based specialist engineering firm, achieved Nadcap Gold status – a global program designed to set standards for aerospace engineering, defence and other related industries.

Meanwhile, CSN Care Group, a leading social care provider, acquired three businesses, further developing its private care offering.

Graham added: “As the UK’s most active growth capital investor, we are unique in our approach as a provider of minority investment.

“This enables businesses to seek the funding they need to scale while also remaining in control of their business.

“We are continually focused on supporting the brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs that Scotland has to offer, and so for those businesses that are assessing their options in 2022, we are more than happy to have conversations to assess their options for expansion in the next 12 months.”