Bowman Capital bows out of PE

Silicon Valley technology investor, Bowman Capital has been hit hard by the volatile technology market and is closing its venture capital business worldwide to focus on its core business in the public hedge fund sector. The decision was made last week to withdraw from the venture capital market and release third party investors from their commitments to the firm’s most recent fund.

The move comes a year after the firm decided to set up in Europe with offices in London and Edinburgh. Partner Hazel Cameron, who was heading the Edinburgh office, said: “With the IPO market effectively drying up, you can understand why Bowman has chosen to pull out. It is disappointing as Europe was taking off. There were a huge number of opportunities and we would have liked to carry on.”

Bowman Capital was investing from two funds. Its first was a crossover fund, investing in both public equities and private companies which will now continue to invest solely in the public sector, but will follow through its private sector investments to exit. Its venture capital fund raised several hundred million dollars in April, but the final figure was never released as the firm was anticipating a second fund raising. All money apart from $18 million will be given back to investors. The $18 million will be kept to support the existing five investments made from the private equity fund, which includes a recent European investment in the Tao Group.

Of the four partners managing the private fund, one, as yet unnamed, will be kept on, based in the firm’s office in San Matteo, San Francisco and will manage the investments to exit. Of the five investments, three are based in Europe and two are US companies. Cameron, who was previously at 3i and has been involved in Scottish technology successes such as Orbital, Kymata and Strakan, will remain on the board of Tao Group. She said: “Even though I will no longer be involved with Bowman, I will stay on Tao’s board because I believe in the company. I wouldn’t like to walk away.” As far as Cameron’s future in the VC market is concerned, she has several options open to her and will certainly be back on the scene by the New Year.

Bowman Capital was founded in 1995 and currently has 15 research analysts working on its public equity team, focused on all major sub-sectors of the technology market. The firm manages over $3.1 billion in assets including both its venture capital investments and aggressive growth public companies.