Smart exit for Cambridge Uni challenge fund

Cambridge University Challenge Fund (CUCF) has sold part of its investment in Smart Holograms. The sale brings CUCF £500,000 and in so doing boosts its funds for future investment while at the same time retaining a stake in the Smart Holograms business. CUCF invested in Smart Holograms in May 2002, and CUCF’s Bill Matthews says: “We still retain a significant holding in the business, and so will continue to profit from Smart Holograms’ future success.”

Smart Holograms develops and commercialises novel hologram sensors for disease diagnostics and management and recently started a US operation, as well as working in collaboration with a number of life science companies.

CUCF’s interest in Smart Holograms was sold through an arranged placing of shares with independent investors. Porton Capital, which is also an investor in Smart Holograms, managed the process. PCL, an investment management company focusing on the distribution and management of sophisticated investor funds, bought CUCF’s stake in Smart Holograms. The deal is unusual in that venture capital investment avoids replacement capital deals as a rule.

Porton Capital is part of Cambridge Venture Partners, which was founded by CUCF earlier this year. Cambridge Venture Partners is also comprised of 3i, Amadeus Capital Partners, Avlar BioVentures, IDG Ventures and TTP Ventures, as well as CUCF. The idea behind Cambridge Venture Partners is that once CUCF’s investment has reached its maximum, the partners have the opportunity to lead later investment rounds in CUCF’s investee companies.