Xlera8

Meet the Manager: ProVen VCTs – Seedrs Insights

The ProVen VCTs are two of the UK’s largest and longest-standing Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). Launched in the early 2000s, the funds have been managed since their inception by Beringea, an award-winning, transatlantic venture capital firm.

Beringea’s team of investment professionals bring decades of experience in venture capital and private equity investing, and a diverse set of specialisms honed across careers in banking, consulting, start-ups, and fund management.

As a shareholder in the ProVen VCTs, you would be accessing diversified investments managed by an expert team who help to drive value and growth across the portfolio. This scale and diversification is an attractive quality of VCTs when compared with other models of private company investing. 

The Investment Committee

Beringea’s investment committee – which leads decisions associated with any investment made by the ProVen VCTs – has four members, with a total combined investing experience of over 100 years. They come from a range of backgrounds including banking, consulting, operations, and private equity investing.

Malcolm Moss, Founding Partner

Over the last 30 years, Malcolm has led the growth, development and management of Beringea in both the UK and the US. He has also played a key role in notable investments and exits including the sale of Chargemaster to BP and Watchfinder to Richemont in 2018.

Stuart Veale, Managing Partner

Stuart has over 30 years of private equity investment experience, and he has been a part of the Beringea leadership team for more than 20 years. He currently sits on the board of Lumar, and he was previously a director of Contact Engine, Chess Dynamics, Third Bridge, Firefly Learning, InSkin Media and ResponseTap among others.

Karen McCormick, Chief Investment Officer

Karen has been a part of the Beringea team for more than 15 years, and she leads the firm’s investment strategy and operations in the UK. She has led several of Beringea’s most notable investments including Monica Vinader, Watchfinder, Luxury Promise, Fnatic, Blis, and EDITED.

Maria Wagner, Partner

Maria leads the investment team in the UK, and she has been with the firm for more than eight years. She currently sits on the boards of Learnerbly, Dealroom, Social Value Portal, My 1st Years, YardLink, AccessPay, and Arctic Shores.

The Investment Team

Alongside the members of the Investment Committee, the Beringea investment team has six members. They come from a range of backgrounds including investment banking, consulting, start-ups, and venture capital investing.

Harry Thomas, Portfolio Director

Harry leads on Beringea’s programme of support for its portfolio, working closely with leadership teams to tap into the Beringea network of advisers and investors, and he is currently a director of CGHero, WiredScore, Archdesk, Commonplace, and Hygenica.

Emma Biasiolo, Investment Manager

Emma joined Beringea in February 2016 and is responsible for investment sourcing, financial modeling, industry research, deal execution, portfolio management, and fundraising due diligence. Emma led the firm’s investment in Lucky Saint and now sits on the board of the company, and she is also a director of Plank Hardware and Papier.

Carrie Babcock, Investment Manager

Carrie is responsible for sourcing and analysing new deals, due diligence on potential investments, managing deal execution processes, and monitoring and advising portfolio companies. Carrie led Beringea’s recent investment in Doctify and also currently sits on the boards of DeepStream and BeenThereDoneThat.

Luke Edis, Investment Manager

Luke is responsible for sourcing and analysing new deals, due diligence on potential investments and monitoring portfolio companies. Luke led the firm’s investment in DASH Water and now sits on the board of the company – he is also a director of LITTA.

Piotr Bukanski, Senior Investment Associate

Piotr is responsible for sourcing and analysing new deals, due diligence on potential investments and monitoring and advising portfolio companies. Prior to joining Beringea, Piotr was an Associate in the EMEA Private Capital Markets Team at Bank of America.

Jodie Miller, Senior Investment Associate

Jodie is responsible for sourcing and analysing new deals, due diligence on potential investments and monitoring and advising portfolio companies. Prior to joining Beringea, Jodie was an Investor at Charlie Oscar, a specialist group of digital native brands.

The Investment Process

The experienced investors in the Beringea team play an active role in shaping the performance of your investment, ensuring that the process of finding, backing, and scaling high-growth start-ups is delivered effectively.

At Beringea, there is a rigorous process for investing on behalf of the ProVen VCTs, which we have laid out below.

Sourcing

While the firm typically makes between 5-10 new investments a year, Beringea annually sources around 1,000 potential deals. These prospective investments are generated through a range of different sources:

  • Inbound pitches: given Beringea’s substantial profile and the track record of its senior team, it is often approached directly by companies looking for investment, typically for  Series A funding.
  • Introductions from industry contacts: angel investors and start-up leaders often connect Beringea directly to members of their network looking for investment.
  • Corporate finance advisers: a proportion of Beringea’s deal flow is generated through relationships with corporate finance advisers.
  • Outbound origination: the Beringea team also conducts a comprehensive outbound origination programme spanning in-depth research of markets and trends, analysis of online data sources and insights, and outreach to companies resulting from these pieces of research.
  • Events and conferences: Beringea hosts a range of influential events throughout the year – for example, Beringea chairs a network of more than 250 VC firms focused on ESG – as well as attending leading tech conferences, which provide a regular source of deals.

Upon sourcing these deals, the investment team will conduct an initial review of the company and any fundraising materials it is able to provide to understand whether it presents a compelling investment opportunity.

Management presentation

Once the team has built greater conviction about the potential of the deal, the management team will be invited to present to the entire Beringea investment team, providing an opportunity to learn more about the business and ask questions of the leadership.

The Beringea team will provide feedback on the company and offer opinions on whether to progress with the investment.

Investment memo

The team leading the deal will then produce a comprehensive analysis of the investment. This will typically feature detailed financial modelling, insights from domain experts and customers, rigorous commercial due diligence carried out by the Beringea team, analysis of the company’s addressable market, and an evaluation of the potential returns that could be achieved.

This memo will be reviewed by the Beringea investment committee, who will vote on whether or not to with further evaluation of the investment. Opinions will also be provided by the boards of the ProVen VCTs, which include experienced entrepreneurs, investors, operators, and corporate financiers. 

Due diligence

Alongside internal analysis carried out by the Beringea investment team, third-party specialists will also typically conduct legal due diligence, financial due diligence, and technology due diligence for any companies with highly technical products.

Having addressed any considerations that surfaced through this due diligence, the investment will be completed by the Beringea team.

Portfolio management

Once part of the Beringea portfolio, companies will be provided with significant support from the firm to help the business identify and harness commercial opportunities – from international expansion to new products and commercial strategies – as well as overcoming any barriers to scale that they may face.

Beringea will also typically appoint a member of the team to sit on the board of the portfolio company as a director. The firm will also provide companies with access to the Beringea Scale-Up Academy, an annual programme of events and workshops for leadership teams, as well as providing ad-hoc support on recruitment, introductions to potential partners and clients, and connections with future investors.

Exit

Having worked with the company to drive growth and improvements in financial performance, Beringea will work alongside the leadership team to deliver an exit for the ProVen VCTs. While the VCTs are evergreen – meaning that they do not have a specific timeline for the disposal of investments – investments will tend to be held for between four to six years.

Risk

Please note that an investment in a VCT involves risk and is not suitable for everyone. Key risks are outlined below:

  • Capital at risk, you may lose part or all of your investment.
  • VCT tax reliefs are subject to change, possibly retrospectively. Income tax relief is only available to UK taxpayers, on amounts invested up to a maximum of £200,000 per person, per tax year, and is restricted to the amount which reduces the investor’s income tax liability to nil.
  • VCTs should be considered as a long-term investment, if you sell your investment within 5 years you will have to repay the initial income tax relief.
  • VCTs invest in smaller companies which can fall or rise in value much more sharply than shares in larger, more established companies. They can also be harder to sell.

Important notice: Prospective investors should only subscribe for shares in the VCTs on the basis of information contained in the prospectuses approved by the Financial Conduct Authority and published by the VCTs.  

Learn more about investing in the ProVen VCTs here.

* The ProVen VCTs sold part of their holding in Monica Vinader in 2016. This figure relates to the sale of the remaining holding in 2023. Including the 2016 partial exit the blended return was 7.7x.