Unruly and Trunki backer Business Growth Fund crosses £500m investment mark

Having started life as an inter-bank task force headed up by HSBC, BGF now has a portfolio totalling nearly 100 companies ranging sectors including retail, business services, media and healthcare.

Back in early 2012, BGF CEO Stephen Welton revealed the firm would be looking to make 30-40 investments per year from its £2.5bn fund on a “sustainable basis” in the longer term. The opening quarter of 2015 saw BGF inject £71m into growing companies.

Commenting on the benchmark, Welton said: “When BGF launched in 2011, smaller and mid-sized companies were largely overlooked by equity investors, access to long-term capital was scarce, and the perception was that demand was non-existent. That was completely wrong and we have seen dramatic change over the last three years.

“The £500m that BGF has rapidly invested would not have been provided without us. That has driven not only investment, but created thousands more jobs in our portfolio companies and unlocked tens of millions of additional debt capacity.”

BGF funding has been used by companies to finance acquisitions, fund site roll-outs, back marketing programmes and hire new executive staff. It has built up a network of eight offices around the UK and created its Talent Network to assist in hiring new staff for portfolio companies.

The most well known companies to be backed by BGF include former Dragons’ Den and children’s luggage business Trunki, boutique gym chain Gymbox, restaurant and bakery business Peyton and Byrne and social media distribution platform Unruly.

Explaining why he took on investment from BGF, Rob Law, Founder and CEO of Trunki, commented: “We believe travel is about new experiences, creating memories and making every journey just as enjoyable as the destination. With BGF on board, we can deliver more products to a wider global demographic more quickly and smoothly ensuring parents and children can get set and go on any adventure.”

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“BGF is operating at the very heart of the UK economy and helping to support our very own ‘Mittelstand’. I have no doubt that many of the great British companies of the future are already in our portfolio and we have only just begun. A new age of equity investment will drive future prosperity,” Welton added.

“BGF together with entrepreneurs across the whole of the UK is at the forefront of turning that potential into reality. The future is bright as long as entrepreneurs have the ambition to take risk and scale up their businesses; the capital is available; and the economy overall is growing driven by greater investment.”

BGF’s £2.5bn investment fund is backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered. It is managed “completely autonomously” by an independent management team led by Welton.

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