Washington, DC (May 23, 2006) - A new joint venture partnership, NVG/FOCUS, the brainchild of New Vantage Group, LLC (NVG) of Vienna, VA and FOCUS Enterprises, Inc. (FOCUS) of Washington, DC is part of a winning group, Seraphim Capital, which has been awarded one of five slots in the UK Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF) initiative. The initiative, a public/private partnership, is designed to fill an “equity funding gap” in which UK firms that are up and running but have not yet achieved profitability find it difficult to obtain growth capital. NVG/FOCUS is the only US partner in the country-wide program initiated by the UK Treasury and developed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Seraphim Capital is led by a syndicate of business angel groups across the UK, including Archangel Informal Investment (Edinburgh), Advantage Business Angels (Birmingham) and Pi Capital and London Seed Capital (both of London). The £30m co-investment fund (about $56M at today’s exchange rate) will invest alongside leading business angels and other private investors, and will focus on investments in companies throughout the UK. Seraphim aims to grow these investments in the US with the help of NVG and FOCUS.
John May, Managing Partner of New Vantage Group which co-founded the Dinner Club series of regional angel groups and is Chair of the Angel Capital Association said:
“As even angel groups realize that “the World is Flat”, our relationship with peers in the UK should bode well for high growth companies seeking markets or growth capital in the United States. This first of its kind partnership should pave the way toward increased internationalization of early stage venture investing.”
Gerald Turner, Partner in the investment banking firm of FOCUS Enterprises said:
“We are delighted to have been chosen from among so many strong competitors. Seraphim is distinguished by the excellence of the partner group across the UK. The participation of NVG and FOCUS is icing on the cake, which gives this fund a unique transatlantic dimension.”
A competitive bidding process for fund managers and business angel groups to run ECFs was launched in July 2005. In September, the DTI received 45 individual bids. An independent outside panel, headed by David Quysner, a distinguished UK venture capitalist was appointed to evaluate the competing bids and as a result, four awards have been made to date, of which Seraphim is one. Approval is subject to contract and funds will have up to six months to complete raising the full amount of private capital and opening the doors for business. Each ECF will be able to make equity investments of up to £2 million. ECFs invest a combination of private and public money in small high-growth businesses seeking up to £2 million of equity finance.
Other consortium partners in the UK include: Greater London Enterprise, London Seed Capital Angels, Pi Capital, ArchAngel Informal Investments, Advantage Business Angels, Entrust, The Summit Group and General Capital Venture Finance.
About New Vantage, LLC
New Vantage Group, LLC creates and manages early-stage venture funds for active angel investors including the Washington Dinner Club and the Active Angel Investors network and maintains joint venture partnerships with regional clubs such as Chesapeake Emerging Opportunities. Since 1997 members have invested over $34 million in more than 38 Mid-Atlantic based companies.
About FOCUS Enterprises, Inc.
FOCUS Enterprises, Inc. provides a range of middle market investment banking services across the U.S. with an emphasis on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and corporate finance. FOCUS is headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. FOCUS specializes in transactions for entities with $5 - 300 million in revenues, serving entrepreneurs, corporate owners, and various types of investors. All 20-plus FOCUS partners are seasoned operating and financial executives with extensive transaction experience.