Legal & General Capital (LGC), with Woodford Investment Management and the British Business Bank, has invested in Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), a new venture platform funding digital businesses across all stages of the funding cycle.
Legal & General says it sees an opportunity to help drive the institutionalisation of the venture asset class and create a leading venture investment ecosystem across the UK.
It believes infrastructure investment in cities and towns, in combination with a thriving digital venture investment industry leveraging the preeminent science and technology emerging from universities, can act as a catalyst to drive improved productivity and UK economic growth.
The institutionalisation of venture funding will also benefit mission led businesses, which lack access to start-up funding. The government’s sponsored review into mission led business, chaired by Nigel Wilson, group CEO Legal & General, which is due to be published shortly, will propose measures to help support mission led business funding and growth in the UK.
ADV plans to invest an initial GBP150 million in digital start-ups, through its platform offering access to capital, coaching, customers and corporates. Targeting existing digital technology hubs, including Belfast, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and Sheffield, it aims to provide equity capital to help thousands of business start-ups to become globally successful UK scale-ups.
Paul Stanworth (pictured), managing director of Legal & General Capital, says: “The UK has faced chronic underinvestment in physical and digital infrastructure for far too long. If we are to capture and catapult the best of British enterprise more akin to Silicon Valley, we need early-stage capital support. With ADV we are pooling together patient capital from three like-minded long-term investors as we back disruptive businesses and fuel innovation across all of the UK’s regions, not just in London. Legal & General Capital is already regenerating towns and cities across the UK, backing clean energy projects, building much-needed homes and providing debt finance for UK SMEs. Now we are getting to the root of UK enterprise by supporting thousands of tech start-ups and growth businesses, creating jobs and boosting the economy.”
ADV will inject patient capital at the very early stage of a business’s life, through accelerator hubs and incubators around the UK and through micro-funds. It will also back growth and later stage businesses as they mature, offering both funding and expertise from industry experts and proven entrepreneurs. ADV's long-term aim is to invest upwards of GBP200 million every year into UK-based start-ups and scale-ups.
Lee Strafford, CEO of ADV, says: “ADV has been established to help more of our emerging start-ups and scale-ups to scale big. There are world class innovators in every corner of the UK. We intend to seek out the best investment opportunities at scale and ensure these companies, irrelevant of size and location, have the support they need to supercharge growth.”