Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund
Offer now closed (28 April 2023)
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Amadeus Capital Partners (‘Amadeus’) is one of the UK’s leading venture capital firms. Its founders – one of whom was also co-founder of Acorn Computers, which spun out UK tech giant Arm – were described in a recent article in The Times as “big players in the evolution of Britain’s tech scene” (you can download a copy of the article on this page).
Over the past 25 years, Amadeus has raised over $1 billion for 22 venture capital funds and invested in more than 185 companies. Of these, 31 have led to profitable exits and returned up to a multiple of 18.9x (average 3.6x, December 2022) – note, past performance is not a guide to the future.
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund was launched in 2015, giving investors the opportunity to invest alongside Amadeus’s venture capital funds within a highly selective EIS-qualifying investment portfolio.
The portfolio aims to invest in companies developing some of the UK’s most cutting-edge technologies. Previous investments include Graphcore, the chip designer, and PolyAI, the conversational AI assistant.
- Targets four to seven portfolio companies spread across a range of new and follow-on investments – not guaranteed
- Planned deployed in the 2023/24 tax year, not guaranteed
- Minimum investment £50,000 – you can apply online
- Please note you will need to apply to become an elective professional client of Amadeus to invest
- Next deadline: offer now closed
Since its inception in 1997, Amadeus has successfully raised over $1 billion and invested in more than 185 companies.
Amadeus operates three distinct investment strategies: Early-Stage Deep Tech in the UK, Growth and Secondary Investments in Europe, and Sustainable Growth in Emerging Markets.
Amadeus has offices in London, Cambridge, Oxford, San Francisco and São Paulo. Anne Glover CBE and Hermann Hauser KBE founded the business in 1997 and, together with Partner Amelia Armour, constitute the investment committee of the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund.
Amelia Armour is the lead fund manager for the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund and is a Partner in the Early Stage Funds. She previously worked at Barclays Investment Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. Amelia sits on the boards of several Amadeus investee companies.
Anne Glover, CEO, has been an active venture capital investor for more than 30 years. After working in manufacturing and strategy consulting in the US, Anne joined Apax Partners in 1989 to invest in early-stage businesses and later became Chief Operating Officer of one of her investee companies, Virtuality Group, after it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1993. Anne returned to investing as a business angel before co-founding Amadeus in 1997. In 2019, Anne became a member of the Yale Corporation Investment Committee, responsible for oversight of the $42.3 billion Yale’s Endowment. She is also a Non-Executive Director in the Court of Directors at the Bank of England, and an external member of the venture capital investment committee of British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution. Anne was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to business.
Hermann Hauser, Venture Partner, is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of more than 20 high-tech companies, including Acorn Computers, which later span out Arm, the semiconductor and software design company. Arm listed on the UK stock market in 1998 before being acquired by SoftBank in a deal that valued the business at $32 billion in 2016. Hermann was made an honorary KBE for services to engineering and industry in 2015.
The investment committee is supported by a further three partners, Manjari Chandran-Ramesh, Nick Kingsbury, and Pierre Socha, as well as a venture partner, two further investment professionals, and in-house legal, IT, finance and support teams.
Before your subscription is invested, the cash will be held by the custodian, Mainspring Nominees Limited. After investment, shares will be held by the nominee, MNL Nominees Limited.
Meet the manager: Watch our interview with Amelia Armour of Amadeus Capital
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund co-invests with Amadeus’s early-stage venture capital funds in EIS-qualifying, start-up and early-stage technology companies and benefits from the board seats and access to information arising from the private equity holding.
The fund is focused on the following sub-sectors:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Autonomous systems and Human-Computer Interfaces
- Enterprise SaaS (cloud computing) and Cybersecurity
- Digital Health and Medical Technology
- Novel Materials and Quantum Technologies
The team looks for several attributes when making an investment, including a strong management team, a competitive advantage, under-served customer need, a large and growing addressable market and global potential.
Amadeus believes by extensively benchmarking against these criteria, it can reduce – albeit not remove – the risks involved in making early-stage investments.
A key pillar of the investment strategy is the strong reputation as entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors Amadeus enjoys – these are all significant factors in attracting entrepreneurs. The team has also built an extensive network of investor and industry contacts who could be brought in to help accelerate the development of its investee companies.
The Fund does not specify a target return. On entry into the wider Amadeus Early-Stage portfolio, Amadeus assesses each company and seeks to invest in those it believes have the potential to be a $1 billion business. The EIS fund will usually co-invest alongside Amadeus’s institutional funds, albeit often at a later stage, at which point the initial $1 billion potential may have changed, but a high return on invested capital is still expected – not guaranteed.
The EIS Fund will aim to build a portfolio of four to seven early-stage EIS-qualifying technology companies for each investor.
The companies listed below are examples of previous investments in the EIS fund. They are outlined to give a flavour of the types of companies you might expect but are unlikely to be part of a new investor's portfolio.
Unlikely AI – recent investment
Unlikely AI is the second company founded by William Tunstall-Pedoe. His first company, Evi Technologies, developed software that could recognise voice queries and provide answers. It was acquired by Amazon in 2012 and is now a key component of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. William left Amazon in 2016 and set up his next venture, Unlikely AI, in 2018.
Details of Unlikely AI’s work are yet to be publicly announced. In September 2022, the company raised $20 million to fund the development of its technology. The round was led by Amadeus Capital Partners and Octopus Ventures, alongside prominent angel investors such as Christopher North (managing partner of private equity firm L Catterton), and Patrick Pichette (ex-CFO of Google).
As part of the September 2022 funding round, the EIS fund invested £200k alongside £5.4 million from Amadeus V Technology Fund. Amelia Armour is to take a seat on Unlikely AI’s board.
Dubbed the “Intel of AI”, Bristol-based unicorn Graphcore has created a new generation of microchips, designed specifically for machine learning and artificial intelligence. Graphcore claims its Intelligence Processor Unit accelerates machine learning model training by a factor of up to 100x compared with current systems.
As artificial intelligence becomes an ever more prominent part of the modern economy, Graphcore expects demand for AI applications, and consequently for its intelligent processing units, to grow.
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund was one of the first backers of Graphcore, participating in a $30 million Series A funding round alongside a host of high-profile technology investors from the UK, Silicon Valley and Israel. To date, the company has raised some $710 million, most recently in December 2020 at a $2.77 billion valuation, from a host of prestigious investors, including Sequoia Capital, Baillie Gifford, Schroders and M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures).
ContactEngine – example of previous exit
ContactEngine has developed an AI system that allows companies to automate outbound customer contact. The conversational AI helps companies deliver an enhanced customer experience without significant additional cost.
The product has attracted big-name customers like British Gas, Verizon and Asda. That pushed the company into the 2020 Sunday Times Tech Track 100, a list of the UK’s fastest-growing private tech companies.
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund initially invested in the business in August 2019 in a deal that valued the business at £29.6 million. In June 2021, ContactEngine was sold to Nasdaq-listed software group NICE, generating a 2.5x realised return for the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Glysure – example of previous failure
As can be expected, not all investments work out. One example is Glysure.
In August 2015, Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund invested in Glysure, which had developed a continuous blood glucose monitoring device designed to reduce the incidence of sepsis, renal failure, and mortality.
Unfortunately, the device did not gain commercial traction, even after receiving the CE Mark. After an extensive – but unsuccessful – effort to sell the company, the board decided to focus on selling its intellectual property.
In December 2018, a transaction with Baxter Inc was concluded for £650k and the proceeds, after transaction costs and the payment of loan note holders, were not sufficient to yield a return to the Amadeus EIS Fund. The Company is no longer active and is currently in liquidation. Amadeus does not expect the EIS Funds to recover any value.
Across its fund range, Amadeus has invested in over 185 companies. 98 have achieved an exit, of which 31 were profitable, generating total gross proceeds of £612 million and returning up to 18.9x (3.6x on average – December 2022).
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund launched in 2015 and has invested in 21 companies. The Fund has seen one profitable partial exit, representing an average 21.4x return on cost, one full exit (Contact Engine) delivering a return of 2.5x and one liquidation (Glysure). The remainder of the portfolio is currently showing unrealised gains of 2x cost.
The chart below shows the average performance of the total subscribed into the funds in each full tax year from 2012/13 (or from when the current strategy was adopted if later) to 2021/22. The chart is based on the latest valuations provided by the manager, expressed on a £100 invested basis. Please note, individual investor portfolios’ performance will deviate from the average.
Performance per £100 invested per tax year
* The Fund did not take any subscriptions during the 2020/2021 tax year.
Source: Amadeus Capital, as at 30 September 2022. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The chart shows realised returns (where share proceeds have been returned to investors as cash) and unrealised returns (where cash has not yet been returned and the value of the investments is based on the manager’s own valuation methodology). There is no ready market for unlisted shares. The figures shown are net of all fees and do not include any income tax relief or loss relief.
Risks – important
This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice.
EIS investments are high-risk and should only form part of a balanced portfolio. As must be expected with early-stage investments, some or even all of the companies in the portfolio could fail: the fewer the companies included in the portfolio, the higher the risk of loss if things don’t go to plan. You should not invest money you cannot afford to lose.
There is no ready market for unlisted EIS shares: they are illiquid and hard to sell and value. There will need to be an exit for you to receive a realised return on your investment. Exits are likely to take considerably longer than the three-year minimum EIS holding period; equally, an exit within three years could impact tax relief.
To claim tax relief, you will need EIS3 certificates, normally issued once shares have been allotted. This can take several months: please check the deployment timescales carefully. Tax reliefs depend on the portfolio companies maintaining their EIS-qualifying status. Remember, tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.
Please note Amadeus intends to invest in between four and seven investee companies, which may result in a concentrated – and therefore higher risk – portfolio. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks.
A summary of the main charges is shown below. Some of these will be payable by the investor, whilst others by the investee companies. The investment may have additional charges and expenses: please see the provider documents, including the Key Information Document, for more details.
|Full initial charge||3%|
|Wealth Club initial saving||—|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club||3%||Annual management charge||2.5% decreasing to 0% over time|
|Dealing charge||from 0.35%|
|Performance fee||20%||Investee company charges|
|Initial charge||—||Annual charge||—|
More detail on the charges
The very best start-ups and entrepreneurs have their pick of investors. Amadeus's reputation as a well regarded early-stage investor has historically helped attract high-quality entrepreneurs and investment opportunities – although this is not guaranteed.
Co-founder Hermann Hauser has been dubbed “the father of Silicon Fen” – the Cambridge-based answer to Silicon Valley – having founded or co-founded a number of tech companies. That includes Acorn Computers and Arm, the UK’s most successful tech company to date. Anne Glover, the other founder, has been an active venture capitalist for 30 years and is also a member of the Investment Committee for the Yale University Endowment and a Non-Executive Director in the Court of Directors at the Bank of England.
However, Amadeus does not operate a large EIS fund business. It typically makes just a handful of EIS-qualifying investments a year, co-investing alongside its early-stage venture capital funds. Investors’ portfolios are likely to be concentrated. Having launched in 2015, the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund had invested in 21 investee companies by the end of September 2022. The portfolio contains some of the UK’s most exciting start-ups, such as PolyAI, the conversational AI assistant, Paragraf, the graphene-based electronic device maker, and Xampla, the single-use plastics alternative.
The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund might appeal to investors looking to bolster a wider investment portfolio with exposure to a highly selective deep technology EIS portfolio. We see this as a rare opportunity to gain exposure to one of the UK’s leading early-stage investors, available exclusively without advice through Wealth Club.
Wealth Club aims to make it easier for experienced investors to find information on – and apply for – investments. You should base your investment decision on the offer documents and ensure you have read and fully understand them before investing. The information on this webpage is a marketing communication. It is not advice or a personal or research recommendation to buy any of the investments mentioned, nor does it include any opinion as to the present or future value or price of these investments. It does not satisfy legal requirements promoting investment research independence and is thus not subject to prohibitions on dealing ahead of its dissemination.
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