SEP closes 2nd fund

Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has closed its second fund, SEP II, having reached the extended target of GBP100 million. This is the first fund raised by SEP, which provides growth and development capital predominantly to Scottish technology companies, since gaining its independence from Scottish Enterprise in August 2000.

SEP’s second fund was launched a month after breaking away from the development agency. SEP still advises on the development agency’s private equity investment portfolio. The original target of GBP75 million was increased to GBP100 million at the end of last year after the fund succeeded in raising GBP80 million in three months.

Backers include Bank of Scotland, the European Investment Fund, Lloyds Development Capital, the Royal Bank of Scotland group, Standard Life Investments and Westport Private Equity.

Although investments from this fund will have a similar profile to those from the first fund, over the next four years SEP II is looking to invest larger amounts in a wider geographical arena. The ceiling for the size of investments has been set at GBP5 million, compared to GBP1.5 million for the GBP25 million SEP I fund, which was raised in November 1996 and is now fully invested. The new fund’s first investment is in Provis, a Lanarkshire-based healthcare company. However the company reports that it is also looking at projects based in London, Cambridge and Ireland.

The managing director of Scottish Equity Partners, Calum Paterson, said: “Although the wider climate for technology is difficult, the fundamentals are still strong and for experienced venture capital investors, current market conditions are actually very positive.” The firm’s industry focus will remain technology orientated looking for opportunities in software, microelectronics, communications, healthcare and life sciences.

The investment company has also announced the creation of an advisory board which will include Crawford Beveridge, executive VP of Sun Microsystems in California, Nick Radcliffe, CTO at Quadstone (a SEP portfolio company), Dick Barfield, formerly of Standard Life, Nick Wood, former head of telecoms at Generics, Cameron McLatchie of British Polythene, Professor Neil Hood of Strathclyde University and John Lumsden, chairman of Motherwell Bridge.

Rob Moffat and Gordon Beveridge are set to join the investment team as executives later this month.