Those of you old enough to remember the old 3i ("Investors in Industry") will recognise the rise of the Business Growth Fund ("BGF") and see a remarkable similarity. This should not surprise you given the number of 3i alumni who have now ended up at BGF offices.
BGF led the way in 2017 and invested more than £300m in almost 50 companies last year completing 48 new investments. The £79m invested in December was also an all-time record month for the investor.
Notable exits in 2017 included Statesman Travel, BGF's second ever investment, made in October 2011 and Bullitt Group, which sold a majority stake to private equity firm Exponent who were advised by the Bishopsgate team in Stamford. BGF have certainly kept the corporate finance market busy and it means that growth businesses have ready access to capital.
Stephen Welton, chief executive of BGF, said: "The macro-economic and political landscape remains uncertain and the current environment is not easy for any business to navigate. But more and more business owners are recognising that with strong financial backing and genuine support there are as many opportunities as challenges, and that growth is out there."
The Bishop remembers the Chairman of 3i saying something similar back in the 1980s before they changed their strategy and divested 90% of their portfolio. We will watch BGF's growth with interest.