TTP SeeksEuropean Venture Debut

UK innovation specialist TTP Group – originally The Technology Partnership – is in the process of raising its maiden venture fund, to be managed by its newly-formed subsidiary TTP Venture Managers.

TTP is targeting as much as GBP50 million (ecu 71 million) for the TTP Venture Fund, which is slated for investment across a spread of technology sectors in the UK and Western Europe. The group has secured a cornerstone investor for the fund in the shape of NPM Capital of the Netherlands, which has agreed to subscribe 30% of the vehicle’s total.

TTP Venture Fund will be able to draw on a broad spectrum of technological expertise within TTP Group. The company undertakes consultancy activities and develops innovative products on a contractual basis for an international client base; it also develops and commercialises products on its own account or on a partnership basis. Based in Cambridge, the group employs some 400 highly-skilled staff and in 1997/8 generated GBP4.5 million pre-tax profit on sales of GBP36 million.

The fund will target start-up and early-stage opportunities, principally in the telecommunications, information technology, environmental technology, instrumentation technology, drug discovery and medical equipment and devices sectors. David Connell, who heads TTP Venture Managers, declined to comment in more detail on the fund’s strategy prior to a first closing.

NPM decided to invest in the fund to enable it to expand its exposure to early-stage technology investments across a wide range of sectors, something the firm lacks the specialist resources to undertake via the direct investment route; NPM is also an investor in two technostarter funds and two seed capital funds and has also made a number of direct investments in IT and biotech companies.

Maarten Dekker of NPM cited TTP’s ability to evaluate proposals spanning a broad range of technologies as a major attraction of the fund. As cornerstone investor, the Dutch private equity group will be represented on the fund’s board and investment committee.