GLE buys YFM

YFM Group, one of the most active venture capital groups in the UK, has been acquired by GLE Group, the UK angel and early-stage investor. The acquisition has made GLE the largest provider of equity to small and growing business in Europe, with over £330m of funds under management.

GLE already has an extensive track record in the early-stage area. Its equity finance arm GLE Growth Capital, manages the London Business Angels Network – the oldest business angel network in the UK – the London Seed Capital Fund, the £30m Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF) Seraphim Capital, as well as a number of smaller funds.

Leeds-headquartered YFM has ten offices throughout the UK, and manages around £300m in funds. It has a team of over 40 investment professionals with an investment capacity of up to £8m per deal. Among the funds. YFM manages 10 funds in total, including the British Smaller Companies VCT, The Capital Fund and the North West Business Investment Scheme.

In the 12 months to end of March 2008, YFM invested £47m in deals worth over £220 million in 91 companies across the UK

Anthony Clarke, managing director of GLE Growth Capital, said: “Through the joining of GLE and YFM we will now be regarded as the first point of call for early stage high growth businesses seeking funding from £250,000 to £8m.”

YFM’s new parent company the GLE Group is wholly owned by all 33 London boroughs – it provides investment, products and services to promote small business growth. From its London headquarters, it has satellite offices across the South East of England, Brussels, and Prague.

“Joining forces makes logical sense for employees, clients, partners and the wider business community. Our businesses fit very well together and both groups will be significantly stronger as a result.” said David Hall, managing director of YFM Private Equity.

Investments by YFM funds this year include a £330,000 investment in eCommerce specialists TBiConnect, £200,000 in BeCheeky.com, an online lingerie retailer, £1m in gastropubs chain Wykeham Inns, £250,000 in mobile phone messaging services provider 2sms, led a £2.1m for medical technology company Atlas Genetics, invested £750,000 in technology business ProVision Communications, and provided £2.55m to back the £6m MBO of specialist Medical communications business, Fishawack.