– Fourth MTI fund on schedule to reach target

Following a late February first close on more than 50 million, MTI4 looks set to reach its upper target of 75 million ($117 million) by the middle of this year. MTI, which has enjoyed a clutch of profitable exits recently, including VegaStream, Dataflex, SciMat and TAXI Interactive, has benefited from a very high level of support from investors in previous funds. Given that MTI claims a composite net return to investors in excess of 20 percent per annum during its 17 years of existence, this degree of customer loyalty is not entirely surprising.

Director Ernie Richardson reports that the first closing total was drawn predominantly from UK sources, whose appetite for technology investment has improved markedly of late. Richardson describes this phenomenon as a pleasant change from previous experience’. He also notes the increasing importance of funds-of-funds as backers of early-stage technology vehicles. UK and US funds-of-funds feature in the MTI4 investor line-up alongside domestic insurance companies and pensions.

The firm expects to bring in monies from other European sources for the final close including, in all probability, additional funds-of-funds.

In contrast with many venture houses that have widened their investment remits to embrace dot-coms in many and various guises, MTI appears to be sticking firmly to its early-stage, high-tech knitting. “The continuing technology boom in the UK, in particular in Internet and telecoms, has given increased value to the businesses that develop the underlying technology that drives these sectors and these are the businesses we will be targeting”, explains MTI chief executive Dr Paul Castle.

Like its predecessors, MTI4 will focus on UK start-up and early-stage opportunities with the potential for aggressive growth in the software and communications, materials technology, life sciences and industrial products sectors. The fund will typically invest between 2 million and 5 million but MTI will be able to accommodate larger investments.