Edinburgh-based venture capital firm Par Equity has today announced the launch of its new venture fund – Par Equity Ventures I LP.
The firm has secured a first close of £67m to boost innovative technology companies with high-growth potential in the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Par Equity will continue raising capital to close out the full £100m target fund size.
Backed by the Scottish National Investment Bank and British Business Investments, with further support from the Strathclyde Pension Fund, Par Equity will add further resources and capabilities to its venture programme, accelerating some of the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland’s most promising tech scale-ups and strengthening the talent pools in these regions.
The fund will be managed from Par Equity’s Edinburgh office, as well as its recently launched Leeds base, and will lead or support Series A funding rounds.
Certified B-Corp, Par Equity, partners with early-stage companies, operating B2B business models and with strong IP. Many of these companies are innovating in the fields of health tech, climate tech and industrial tech, often driven by new technologies such as robotics, photonics, advanced materials and artificial intelligence.
Launched in 2008 by Paul Munn, Robert Higginson, Paul Atkinson and Andrew Castell, Par Equity has invested over £160m into 77 early-stage technology companies to date, with 30 realisations, including Edinburgh-based Current Health, which was Europe’s second-largest digital health exit ever following its sale to Best Buy.
On the fund’s launch, Paul Munn, Managing Partner at Par Equity said: “Accelerating innovation and talent in this part of the UK is an absolute priority for us and we believe that this fund can be a positive catalyst for the local tech ecosystem. Not only are we uniquely delivering capital to scaleups in the region, but we hope this fund will trigger a mindset shift to encourage and enable our very best and brightest companies to shine on the world stage.”
Andrew Noble, Partner at Par Equity, who led the fund’s launch, added: “People often forget that the North of the UK is a big market in its own right. Worth around $1 trillion GDP, it would be the eighth largest economy in Europe but is still largely overlooked by investors. We are surrounded by incredible innovation in this part of the UK, and we must now turn these fledgling start-ups into global category leaders. We look forward to working with these companies to unlock those ambitions.
Judith Hartley, CEO, British Business Investments, said: “The Regional Angels Programme plays a vital role in developing the early-stage funding ecosystem across the UK Nations and regions. Par Equity was one of the first delivery partners of the programme, and we are really pleased to continue our support for them, through Par Equity Ventures I LP, targeting Series A follow-on commitments for smaller businesses across the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.”
Jimmy Williamson, Executive Director at Scottish National Investment Bank said: “The Bank’s cornerstone investment will enable significant access to crucial scale-up funding to drive growth in the Scottish tech sector, delivering real impact by catalysing innovation and supporting the critical development of the locally-based venture capital industry.
“Working with Par and its new fund is complementary and additive to the Bank’s own direct investing activities and directly aligns with our mission to harness innovation, investing in the industries of the future.”
Par Equity’s investment model combines its discretionary managed funds with the experience of its engaged pool of sophisticated angel investors. This hybrid investment approach is drawing attention from the industry, with the firm winning Best Angel Group of the Year (UK Business Angel Awards, 2021 and 2023) and Best EIS Manager of the Year (EIS Association Awards, 2021 and 2022), as well as being selected as a finalist for the upcoming European Private Equity Awards for Venture Capital House of the Year and Venture Capital Deal of the Year in 2022.