Scottish tech entrepreneurs create new investment arm
Two of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs have launched a new investment arm for their diverse and growing portfolio of investments.
Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl – co-founders of multiple award-winning games developer 4J Studios, best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles – have established Chroma Ventures as a means of consolidating an investment portfolio focused principally on data-led businesses and those developing and deploying innovative technology.
Chroma Ventures will channel flexible capital into a range of early-stage and established businesses with high-growth potential.
Burns and van der Kuyl have been active supporters – both financially and practically – of a broad range of companies for several years, often in collaboration with other investors. Their portfolio includes around 10 direct investments that have grown into significant stakes in well-established businesses, such as global leader in cross-platform TV ad measurement TVSquared, cupboard stored ready meal provider Parsley Box, commercial insurance distribution and data platform Broker Insights, and indie game studio Puny Astronaut.
The Chroma Ventures portfolio also includes a number of indirect holdings through LVP, the venture capital seed fund for the games sector, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) Ventures, the impact investment fund backing mission-led enterprises, and Seedhaus, the pre-seed stage investor.
Chroma Ventures will focus predominantly on firms based in Scotland and the rest of the UK initially, but with ambitions to broaden that outlook and seek opportunities globally. It will typically make investments of between GBP500,000 and GBP5 million in support of exceptional individuals and teams taking an entrepreneurial approach to developing innovative ideas and technology.
Gavin Anderson has joined Chroma Ventures as an investment director and will be responsible for developing the portfolio. Anderson has significant transactional experience from previous roles with Maven Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank (Structured Finance), EY and KPMG.
Van der Kuyl says: “Paddy and I have been investing in other people’s ideas and businesses for a while now and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with management teams and boards to help them realise the potential for growth that exists in these companies. We’ve been increasingly conscious of the need to put more structure around that activity, without losing the sense of freedom and flexibility that has defined our approach to date. That’s what we’re looking to do with Chroma Ventures and we’re delighted to have the benefit of Gavin’s energy and experience as we do so.”
Burns says: “Although technology is a thread that runs through our own back-stories and many of the companies we invest in, this is fundamentally about people. It is about providing great teams with the capital and advice they need to thrive, in the same way that Chris and I benefited from the support of experienced entrepreneurs and investors when we were starting out more than 20 years ago.”
Burns and van der Kuyl’s commercial property business, formerly known as Tayforth Properties, which was responsible for developing Water’s Edge, the grade-A office development on Dundee’s dockside housing a number of its portfolio businesses, has been rebranded as Chroma Developments.