Peter Baines, General partner at Advent Venture Partners

36. Peter Baines
General partner, Advent Venture Partners (▼31)

Baines enjoyed four ‘significant’ exits in 2011, returning a reported average return of six times money. Investments included a £5.5 million injection in furniture and home and garden concern Worldstores and £3 million in Vitrue, which helps brands engage with social media. ‘Across the board we’ve seen continued strong growth in the e-commerce businesses, despite the dire situation,’ he says. All of the businesses Baines invests in are international as he sees the enterprises selling into the US and Asia as having more upside. He says that almost all of his portfolio businesses grew last year from 20 per cent up to 150 per cent.

‘Our job is to make sure these businesses carry on growing with the right team in place,’ adds Baines.

Eric Archambeau, General partner at Wellington Partners

37. Eric Archambeau
General partner, Wellington Partners  (▼27)

Despite a freezing economic backdrop, keen skier Archambeau says Wellington’s portfolio companies are performing well, with average annual sales growth of over 100 per cent for the past five years. The firm now has a venture capitalist in Asia who is helping the portfolio expand into the local market.

‘We think it is important to invest in  businesses that are on the fringe of the mainstream markets as these niches can be very profitable,’ he adds. Archambeau draws on extensive high tech management experience in Silicon Valley and Europe, and is widely known for his insights and experience in the social networking, data mining and electronics markets.

Hilary Devey, CEO of Pall-Ex Group

38. Hilary Devey
CEO, Pall-Ex Group  (▼29)

Lancashire-born Devey replaced James Caan as the new investor on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2011 while continuing to drive her pallet distribution company towards European expansion. Pall-Ex Romania was launched last year, the first pallet network in Eastern Europe, following the successful launches of Pall-Ex Iberia and Pall-Ex Italy. Devey, who overcame a stroke in 2008, continues to support and donate large amounts to various charities.

Jos White, Partner, Notion Capital

39. Jos White
Partner, Notion Capital  (▼36)

Entrepreneur White, who co-founded three successful businesses, declares that he very much enjoys being on the other side of the table now as a venture capitalist. His venture fund Notion Capital made one major investment in 2011, a £7 million boost for social business network Tradeshift.

It also made two big follow-on investments with a £4 million injection into virtual contact centre solutions provider NewVoiceMedia and £5 million into CRM company BrightPearl. White and the team are now focusing on raising a new fund which he says will be between $100 million and $150 million.

Marcus Stuttard, Head of AIM

40. Marcus Stuttard
Head of AIM  (▲41)

Stuttard says the year started well for AIM, with a good number of IPOs getting away. However when the summer’s problems landed the result was a ‘quiet autumn’ for the market.

Following three years as head, Stuttard points towards AIM’s engagement with policymakers as a standout achievement of the past year. ‘In the spring we saw the Budget announcing the extensions of EIS and VCT schemes which have historically been important for the finance of companies,’ he states.

41. Oliver Woolley
Partner, Envestors (▼39)

Enthusiastic Woolley describes 2011 as Envestors’ best year to date. The investor network is eyeing international expansion, with offices already operating in Dubai and India to follow.

42. Patrick Bradley
CEO, Ingenious Ventures  (▲)

In 2012, keen theatre-goer Bradley is eager to complete the fundraising for Ingenious’ new £20 million vehicle. ‘Britain is punching above its weight in media and entertainment,’ he declares.

43. Jamie Constable
CEO, RCapital (▼17)

In 2012, Constable foresees a tough environment for turnaround investors such as RCapital and believes the   Olympics could result in a ‘sterile’ environment for those businesses not directly benefitting.

44. Philip Wale
Chief executive, Seymour Pierce (▲)

In his former guise Wale sat as head of equities at Seymour Pierce before taking up the reins as chief executive in March 2011, capping a rapid march to the summit of AIM’s largest broker by number of clients.

45. Sean Seton-Rogers
PROfounders Capital  (▼43)

Seton-Rogers saw a 2011 rich in deals, investing some £6 million in nine early-stage internet companies compared to the venture firm’s five investments in 2010. Interests include Sir Stelios’ EasyCar.

46. Tom Singh
Serial entrepreneur and investor (▲)

Singh started New Look with just one store in 1969 after borrowing £5,000 from his parents. The serial entrepreneur is still on the board and is an active private investor in the tech and renewables sectors.

47. Chilton Taylor
Capital markets head, Baker Tilly  (▼42)

AIM stalwart Taylor feels that the government is ‘trying hard’ with improvements to EIS and VCTs, and expects to be ‘very busy’ this year when the new, less restrictive investment limits come into force.

48. Mark Boggett
MD, Seraphim Capital (▼40)

Mark Boggett is another VC with an optimistic outlook despite the gloom. He reports M&A activity as ‘robust’ and expects to see some ‘great opportunities’ for exits at Seraphim in 2012.

49. Cyril Theret
CEO, PLUS (▲)

Stock exchange operator PLUS spent 2011 establishing new business lines such as derivatives exchange and financial technology services, as well as rebranding its growth company exchange, PLUS-SX.

50. Peter Jones
Investor and serial entrepreneur (▼45)

Beneficiaries of Dragon Jones’ investments in 2011 include quirky popcorn-manufacturing trio Love Da Popcorn and children’s gift-giving website, ThePresentClub.co.uk. He’s also a noted Twitter addict.

Casualties of 2011

Matt Riley
CEO, Daisy Group (▼5)

The serial acquirer is taking time out to digest past purchases (see feature, page 56)

Charles Irving
Co-founder, Pond Ventures (▼22)

It’s been a year of relative stagnation for Pond after a busy 2010.

Tim Smit
Co-founder and chief executive, The Eden Project (▼32)

The inspirational eco-warrior was squeezed out of our ranking this year despite winning a knighthood.

Uli Fricke
Former chair, European Venture Capital Association (▼37)

Keen ballroom dancer Fricke has waltzed back to her day job as co-head of VC firm Triangle.

Kristian Segerstråle
Co-founder, Playfish (▼34)

The erstwhile entrepreneurial firebrand seems to be settling into corporate life at Playfish’s acquirer Electronic Arts.

Business XL’s Power Top 50 is a completely independent ranking of investors, serial entrepreneurs and advisers to public and private growing businesses, compiled using the expertise of knowledgeable industry insiders and  statistical analysis into transaction activity.

Some of the statistics used in the compiling of The Power Top 50 originate from The AIM Guide 2011/2, the essential source of information on AIM’s 1,158 companies.

The AIM Guide and AIM research reports are available to purchase from Vitesse Media in PDF format. You can find out more about them by calling 020 7250 7039 or emailing samantha.coles@vitessemedia.co.uk

Contributors to The Power Top 50: Nick Britton, Todd Cardy, Aoife Hayes, Thomas Hobbs, Ben Lobel, Miles Nolan, Hunter Ruthven