Review: Deepbridge Technology Growth EIS

In the November Budget, the Chancellor effectively gave his seal of approval to EIS investing in knowledge-intensive companies. This is precisely the type of company the Deepbridge Technology Growth EIS invests in – and has been doing so for years. 

Highlights

  • Technology-focused EIS fund
  • Invest in a portfolio of selected companies with high growth potential 
  • Experienced management, who are required to invest their own money in the offer
  • £10,000 minimum

The offer

This EIS is evergreen, and is continually seeking investors’ funds. It invests in later-stage, growth-orientated technology companies. 

Deepbridge targets businesses in three key sectors: energy and resource innovation, medical technologies, and high-growth IT-based technologies. 

Investee companies must have significant market potential. Ideally they should  already be in the process of commercialising the product or service they’ve developed and have identified revenue streams. They should own robust intellectual property or a patented product, which can provide some value if the business doesn't work out. 

The manager

Deepbridge Capital was set up by Ian Warwick. Initially he intended to launch an unquoted growth technology fund. However, after the rules changed to allow investments of up to £5 million in an individual company, he considered EIS more appropriate.

Mr Warwick has had a varied career: he was in the Royal Navy, then an oil engineer in Houston and worked for one of the biggest printer companies before settling on technology start-ups in New York. When he founded Deepbridge, he didn’t have experience of managing money but he and his founding partners all had experience in technology and in listing and floating businesses.

Deepbridge’s investment team is required to invest their own money in the portfolio companies. If the portfolio loses money, they lose money, so there’s an added incentive to apply a tight investment selection process and help businesses achieve their objectives.

Watch a video interview with Ian Warwick:

Target return

The portfolio aims to deliver a return of £1.60 for every £1 invested over three to four years. If you take into account EIS 30% income tax relief, that’s £1.60 for every £0.70 effectively invested. Please note though: returns are not guaranteed. Capital is at risk and you could get back less than you invest. Moreover, tax benefits depend on circumstances and tax rules can change. 

Exit strategy

Before Deepbridge invests, it tries to identify potential buyers for investee companies, but there is no set exit strategy. Thus far there have been no exits, nor failures, although they are possible, indeed likely as with any portfolio of this nature. 

Risks

These are early-stage technology businesses, so they will be more prone to failure than later stage, more mature businesses. It is also likely they will require multiple rounds of funding thus diluting the stakes of earlier investors. These are long-term investments. 

The usual risks with unquoted companies exist with this EIS offer. For instance, EIS investments are illiquid and capital is at risk. Investors should only invest money they can afford to lose.  

Fees

The underlying investee companies will pay a fee of 2% per annum to Deepbridge. There is a 2.5% corporate advisory and arrangement fee, paid from the underlying companies. In addition, there is a dealing fee of 0.65% for sales and purchases charged to underlying investee companies and a further 0.5% per annum custody fee. Finally, there is a performance fee equivalent to 20% of the profit from each individual company with a minimum hurdle of £1.20 per £1 invested prior to any performance fee being applicable. VAT is charged where applicable. 

When you invest via Wealth Club, you pay no initial fees from the subscription, so you should receive tax relief on the full amount. Deepbridge fees are paid by the investee companies.

Our view

This is an interesting, albeit higher-risk EIS offer. The core team comes with many years of experience in investing in, managing and floating businesses.

Wealth Club aims to highlight investments we believe have merit, but you should form your own view. You should decide based on the provider's documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. This review is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy the investment mentioned. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination. 

Deepbridge Technology Growth EIS

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