Industry focus at Investor AllStars 2012
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With the awards recognising some outstanding achievements in the world of venture capital and private equity, GrowthBusiness speaks to the evening's sponsors to find out their views on the market.
John Cowie, corporate finance partner at Reeves:
Why did the firm decide to get involved with the awards?
Reeves is a firm which historically was very much Kent-based and across the South East. We recently merged with FW Stephens, which is a London-based practice. As a firm we are very much involved with the SME market and we want people to understand that we are open for business in London as business advisors.
An event like Investor AllStars is perfect for us as it gets our brand across to a group of people and a network of individuals who might like to come for us for advice when they are looking at either inward investment or an exit. That is what we at Reeves on the corporate finance side can provide.
Where is money coming from for SMEs?
We have found that banks talk a very good game and say we are always open for business and are keen to invest in the business and be with you for the long term. When it actually comes to walking the talk we have found that a number of banks, when it comes to it, just shut-up shop.
What we have found is that alternative forms of financing and venture capital is actually where the market is at the momment. Certainly for the growth companies we see at the smaller and medium end, venture capital money is very important to them and the VC community appears to be imaginative about the way they might fund those transactions.
We are also finding that alternative forms of finance, such as corporate bonds, are a way forward for businesses. So rather than going to the banks or traditional routes such as flotation, venture capital and corporate bonds are perhaps the new area for smaller and medium sized businesses to raise money.
David Ward, managing partner at MTI Ventures:
How has the UK venture capital world changed over the past year?
I think it's been a really positive year for European and UK Venture Capital in general. We have seen a number of large deals done with US VCs coming over and co-investing into European companies, which are becoming globally competitive forces. They are standing up on the world stage and I expect to see a lot more of that going on successfully over the coming year
How have the Investor AllStar awards evolved since you co-founded it?
As a co-founder I am slightly bias but from the idea that Manish Madhvani of GP Bull hound and I had back in 2002, thinking that we needed an event that would celebrate venture, we now have a fantastic awards that is triumphing innovation, entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and their investors. It has gone from 200 people in 2002 to 600 plus this year and is really celebrating the best of European technology. We are delighted at MTI to continue to be a supporter of it.
Charlie Hunt, senior consultant at Private Equity Recruitment:
How do you think the private equity industry has weathered the storm?
I think the private equity industry has been quite resilient. Investors are always going to make money when they invest sensibly. We have seen a lot of investments made with a good amount a lot of exits. Capital is being raised in challenging environments by good funds and on the whole I think things are on the up.
What trends have you seen in the private equity market in the last few years?
Investors are going back to their LPs to raise more finance which is a challenging time but for good funds they are raising money. People are looking to deploy capital and exits are happening so it is not all doom and gloom. There is positivity in the market and it should be a great vintage to invest in venture capital and private equity.
Further Investor AllStars 2012 reading:
- Investor of the Year - Frederic Court of Advent Venture Partners
- Queens of e-commerce - Entrepreneur of the Year
- Winners on the night
- Investor AllStars 2012 - An evening in pictures
- George Coelho - A judges view
- Investor AllStars 2012 - Winners