Par Equity

Par Equity

About

Par Equity is a leading, early stage venture capital firm, investing in innovative, high growth technology companies. Based in Edinburgh, Par Equity focuses on the very best opportunities in the North of the UK and has already backed more than 50 companies across Northern Ireland, Northern England and Scotland. 

Par Equity operates a distinctive hybrid investment model, combining the skills, expertise and contacts of the Par team and our wider Par Investor Network with the scale and fire power of our discretionary managed EIS Fund. This investment strategy, fusing the experience of the Investor Network with the professionalism and rigour of a traditional venture capital fund, is our Network Effect – a large and engaged pool of investors and mentors with a track record founding, growing and selling companies, who can add value throughout the investment life cycle.

Par’s investment activities are supported by the Scottish Investment Bank, of which Par is a tier 1 co-investment partner, and the British Business Bank, through it’s commercial subsidiary British Business Investments, launching a £75m investment programme in 2020 to develop high growth technology companies in the North of the UK.


"“This is one of the few industry track records that can be looked on as a credible indication of ability. The quantum of exits, the overall success rate and good IRRs suggest that Par Equity is capable of producing a good performance.”"

Hardman & Co, EIS Fund Analyst, June 2020

Investment focus

We are principally technology investors, but while technology can flourish in the hot-house environment of universities, laboratories and test-sites, technology of itself doesn’t make a business. That’s why, over the last 11 years, we’ve prioritised sound commercial judgement in our investment criteria. We look through the smart technology to the underlying business and management team. Can they execute, can they innovate, can they sell? Not only do we focus on the commercial acumen of the entrepreneurs, but our business model is built through the commercial focus of our Investment Team and Par Investor Network to work through the difficulties of bringing new products to market and the challenges of scaling a business quickly.

Par's mission is to back outstanding entrepreneurs and through the power of its network help them build world class companies in the North of the UK, driving innovation, employment and attractive returns for investors.

Key team members

Leith Robertson - Chairman

Leith has over 50 years’ experience in the financial services industry having held senior roles in large international banks with a focus on structured finance. Highly experienced in his field, Leith is disciplined and focused on exit strategy and planning for our portfolio companies.

Andrew Noble - Partner

Andrew is an entrepreneur and serial angel investor in technology companies with a broad range of experience in venture capital, private equity and management consulting. Andrew competed for Team GB in Alpine Skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics and holds an MBA from INSEAD Business School.

Paul Munn - Managing Partner

Paul is a Chartered Management Accountant and has experience of corporate management, turnarounds,

business development and active shareowner engagement. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Glasgow.

Investment opportunities

Structure
Fund
Min. Investment
£20,000
Closing date
Evergreen
Sector
Technology
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Exited investments

Undisclosed exit price return
October 2019
Dukosi

The company

Dukosi is a highly innovative semiconductor company providing chips for wireless, power management and battery management applications. The company's battery sensing technology targets next generation lithium ion battery management systems for future hybrid electric vehicles, and sets new standards in performance, accuracy, and functionality, enabling automotive manufacturers to make lighter, more fuel-efficient cars with lower CO2 emissions.


The opportunity

Par Equity was attracted to Dukosi due to its novel solution to a global problem in the rapidly growing hybrid vehicle battery management system market. The move by the automotive industry away from nickel metal hydride batteries to lithium ion batteries has placed much greater demands on the accuracy of battery monitoring sensors and Dukosi's technology was well-placed to meet these demands.


The outcome

In 2013, not long after Par invested, the CEO and founder of Dukosi was tragically killed in a road traffic accident. Par and the Investor Network responded quickly, adding an interim CEO from the Investor Network and, with the work of Par’s appointed Chairman, raised a rescue funding round to stabilise the business. Dukosi went onto develop and roll out its market leading technology, attracting further investment from IP Group, with the company eventually being bought by KCK Partners as part of a buy and build exercise. The sale was for an undisclosed sum, with the Par Equity investors making many multiples of their total investment. 


76x return
May 2018
ICS Learn

The company

Founded in Glasgow over 120 years ago, ICS pioneered the concept of distance learning with the objective of democratising education. ICS is the oldest distance learning provider in a market which has seen dramatic expansion with the arrival of the internet. At the time of our investment, ICS offered over 150 flexible courses, having helped educate more than 13 million people.


The opportunity

When Par Equity first invested, ICS Learn was a loss-making, distressed business which the previous owner, a German education trust, was looking to quickly offload or put into administration. Par Equity saw an opportunity to restructure a business with excellent brand value, to save jobs, and to digitise the offering into higher growth segments.  


The outcome

Following Par’s investment, Paul Munn (Par Equity Partner) stepped into the Company as the interim CEO for a couple of months. Par added to the board with 3 further appointments from its Investor Network, and quickly froze the excessive and ineffective marketing spend to shore up the business. A new CEO was appointed in early 2013 (replaced in 2016) and Par helped the business to rationalise the product suite, digitise the offering and develop ICS’ digital marketing. ICS was sold for £29m in May 2018 in a Management Buyout backed by Primary Capital. 

2.6x return
June 2016
PathXL

The company

PathXL specialises in web-based solutions that enable digital pathology and is particularly focused on the market for tumour identification algorithms and associated workflow tools.  PathXL’s innovative and unique TissueMark software allows pathology labs to use digital scanners to quickly process tissue samples and analyse tumours in a growing number of key cancer types.


The opportunity

Par Equity was attracted by PathXL’s niche market, with the increasing digitisation of pathology results dramatically improving the prospects of PathXL’s innovative TissueMark solution to improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis.  The company was a spin out of Queens University in Belfast and brought with it an unusual combination of academic brilliance and a commercially focused and driven CEO (who is now part of the Par Investor Network).


The outcome

Par Equity was attracted by PathXL’s niche market, with the increasing digitisation of pathology results dramatically improving the prospects of PathXL’s innovative TissueMark solution to improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis.  The company was a spin out of Queens University in Belfast and brought with it an unusual combination of academic brilliance and a commercially focused and driven CEO (who is now part of the Par Investor Network).


Example portfolio companies

We look for early stage, disruptive technology companies with the ability to rapidly scale to a global audience.  In summary, we look for the following attributes in our target investee companies:


- Enterprise technology (B2B), Health Tech, e-commerce or e-gaming services

- Scalable business model

- Clear and coherent route to market strategy

- Proven management team

- Monthly revenue of £20k - £200k

- Equity investment of £500k - £5m (pre-series A)


Awards

Growth Investor Awards 2018 – “Exit of the Year"
EISA 2020 - Best EIS Fund Manager - "Highly Commended" Runner Up
Investment Week Tax Efficiency Awards 2019/20, Finalist

Investments offered

  • EIS
  • VC

Contact

Assets under management

£122,000,000
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