Two fingers

Rockpool Investments hires two to head up new South West operations

Rockpool Investments has appointed two investment professionals to head up new operations in the South West of England.

The move marks Rockpool's first major step outside London and is part of a wider plan to open offices in Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Edinburgh within the next year.
 
Rockpool's two new partners, Jerry Davison and John Holden, will be based in Exeter and Bristol respectively. 
 
Matt Taylor, founder and managing partner of Rockpool Investments, says: "For more than 20 years, the company 3i had a similar UK-wide model, backing hundreds of small and medium sized businesses, and now we have the government-inspired Business Growth Fund, which partly fills the ‘funding gap’ of up to GBP5m often encountered by growing businesses. Rockpool is keen to help more private investors be part of this resurgence of regional finance. We've chosen the South West for our first expansion beyond London, which is fitting since the region is fast establishing itself as the UK's centre for alternative financing, with both Crowdcube and Crowdfunder based there, plus a host of business angel groups and funds such as Notion Capital, SWAIN and Horatio Investments."
 
Crowdcube is the UK's leading crowdfunding platform in terms of both number of companies funded and funds raised. It has raised over GBP20m for 103 businesses since it launched in 2011 and is based in Exeter. Crowdfunder, the UK's largest reward-based crowdfunding platform, is based in Newquay.
 
Rockpool Investments operates a model that takes elements from crowdfunding in that people can invest directly in private companies, but the company also employs a team of private equity professionals who carry out due diligence on all companies before they are offered up as investment opportunities for Rockpool's network of investors. The team helped 300 investors inject GBP30m into ten private companies in 2013, and believes that this year will see another leap forward as it expands its presence across the UK.
 
Davison, who lives near Exeter, will cover Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, while Holden, who lives in the Cotswolds, will cover Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
 
Davison trained at PwC in Bristol and later steered Cheltenham-based Select Software to a Nasdaq flotation. He has held a number of financial director and managing director positions in the UK (including Stagecoach and Devon-based British Ceramic Tiles) as well as in the US and Africa. In 2002 he established The Mill Consultancy, an Exeter-based corporate finance firm, which helped to launch Crowdcube. He also runs SouthWestfd, a network of consultant finance directors based in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire who help growing companies on a part time and interim basis.
 
Holden started his career in private equity with 3i in Bristol and has worked in venture capital for almost 20 years. He led the IPO team for 3i on Cheltenham-based Marlborough Stirling's London Stock Exchange float and he also led the MBO of Devon-based Quasar Technology, considered to be 3i’s first ever hostile MBO and sold to a US buyer in 2003. Most recently he set up and launched South West based Tinderbox Working Capital, which provides debt finance for SMEs.

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