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Passion Capital fund boosted by £17.5m from British Business Bank

The British Business Bank announced a £17.5m investment in Passion Capital, for the venture investment firm's £45m second fund.
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Passion Capital provides seed and early stage venture investments to assist founders and early-stage teams build companies, particularly those from the digital media and tech sectors. The investor helps prepare businesses for accelerated growth.

Robert Dighero, partner at Passion Capital, said: “Our first fund cohort has made excellent progress and we are now looking to add further exceptional early stage businesses to the Passion Portfolio.”

He also added that Passion’s focus would continue to be “the very best, leading-edge UK technology startups”.

The venture investment firm’s first fund was also supported by British Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme and led to the backing of high-growth companies including UK-based cyber threat intelligence company Digital Shadows and online automotive community Car Throttle.

It also provided funding to online direct debit provider GoCardless, online diligence tool and database DueDil with a $17m round last year and online search engine Adzuna back in 2011.

Most recently Passion has invested in online wine marketplaces Vicampo and Wine in Black as well as EyeEm, a platform for photographers in an $18m Series B round.

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This second sum will be directed towards early-stage tech businesses which are looking for up to £2m of investment.

The contribution from British Business Bank also marked the 18th investment from its ECF programme, which aims to address the gap in risk capital investment within the UK market. It hopes to create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses, providing a greater choice of options and providers. To date, the ECF initiative has provided over £620m of investment potential for high-growth businesses and has £400m available to invest over the next three years.

Ken Cooper, British Business Bank’s managing director of VC Solutions, pointed to the strengths of Passion Capital as an investment company: “They have a valuable mix of financial and operational skills and a genuine enthusiasm for building strong companies, and we are pleased to be able to back their second fund.”

He said this was a “great example” of how the British Business Bank can work effectively through its partner organisations to “fill gaps in the funding market to provide real help to the UK’s smaller businesses”.

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