Amadeus Early-Stage EIS Fund
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Amadeus Capital Partners (‘Amadeus’) is one of the UK’s leading venture capital firms. Its founders, Anne Glover and Hermann Hauser, are highly experienced as entrepreneurs and investors in some of the UK’s brightest technology successes.
Dr Hauser is best known for co-founding semiconductor chip designer Arm Holdings, one of Britain's most successful tech companies and now a $40 billion business.
Seven years later – and after founding another 20 technology companies – he joined forces with experienced venture capitalist Anne Glover to start Amadeus.
Since 1997, Amadeus has raised over $1bn for 21 venture capital funds – mainly from institutional investors, including British Patient Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Oxbridge Colleges (none are investors in all funds). The team has invested in more than 175 companies, fully exiting 83, of which 27 were profitable, generating total gross proceeds of £609 million and an average return multiple of 3.66x – note, past performance is not a guide to the future.
The Amadeus Early-Stage EIS Fund was launched in 2015. It is an opportunity to invest alongside Amadeus’s venture capital funds within a highly selective EIS-qualifying investment portfolio. On average, Amadeus invests in eight to ten UK companies a year and historically an average of four a year have been EIS qualifying.
Amadeus’s current EIS portfolio includes AI chipmaker Graphcore (most recently valued at $2.77 billion), protein analysis technology Fluidic Analytics (named in the Europe Start-Up 100 2019 list by Silicon Republic) and AI-powered customer communications technology company ContactEngine (named as one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies by the Financial Times and Statista).
The Amadeus Early-Stage EIS Fund is available to experienced investors exclusively through Wealth Club.
- Early-stage investor in some of the UK’s most promising start-ups
- Highly experienced and entrepreneurial management team
- Focus on deep technology businesses with global potential
- Targets four to seven portfolio companies spread across a range of new and follow-on investments and technologies – not guaranteed
- Co-invests alongside Amadeus venture capital funds
- Strong track record of EIS unrealised returns, although past performance is not a guide to future performance
- Aims to be fully invested within 18–24 months, not guaranteed
- Target holding period of three to eight years
- Minimum investment £50,000, you can apply online
Amadeus Capital Partners is one of the UK’s leading early-stage technology investors. Since its inception in 1997, it has successfully raised over $1 billion and invested in more than 175 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, Madrid, San Francisco, Bogotá (Colombia) and São Paulo (Brazil).
The business was founded by Anne Glover CBE and Hermann Hauser KBE in 1997. Together with Amelia Armour, Pierre Socha and Nick Kingsbury, they are the investment committee of Amadeus’s Early-Stage Funds.
Hermann Hauser is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of more than 20 high-tech companies including Acorn Computers, which later spun out ARM Holdings, the semiconductor and software design company. ARM first listed on the UK stock market in 1998 before being acquired by SoftBank in a deal that valued the business at £23.4 billion in 2016. Hermann was made an honorary KBE for services to engineering and industry in 2015. As an investor, Hermann’s most notable current early-stage technology investments include Improbable and Graphcore.
Anne Glover 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 $31.2 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 CDC, the UK’s development finance institution. Anne was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to business.
Amelia Armour is the lead fund manager for the Amadeus Early-Stage EIS Fund and is a Partner in the early-stage private equity funds. Amelia sits on the boards of several Amadeus investee companies, including Xampla, which has produced a natural alternative to single-use plastics, and Paragraf, a developer of graphene-based electronic devices, as well as being Amadeus’s board observer for Graphcore, the chip designer for artificial intelligence and Secondmind, an AI decision-making company.
The investment team is supported by a further two partners, a venture partner, and two analysts, as well as having in-house legal, IT, finance and support teams.
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 Computing
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
- 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 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, 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.
Amadeus will seek to realise investments after three to eight years, but this is not guaranteed and it could take longer. The exit timing for the EIS Fund is aligned with the other Amadeus Funds alongside which it is co-investing to avoid any conflict of interest.
In Amadeus’s experience, traditional buyers of UK technology start-ups are large corporations using acquisitions to innovate and drive additional revenue through their sales channels.
The EIS Fund will aim to build for each investor a portfolio of four to seven early-stage EIS-qualifying technology companies.
Below are examples of previous investments of 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.
Xampla (recent investment)
Xampla is a University of Cambridge spinout that is developing the world’s first plant protein-based replacement for microplastics. Unlike current alternatives to microplastics such as cellulose and algae, Xampla’s plant protein materials are both strong enough to go through a manufacturing process and able to decompose quickly and completely in the natural environment.
Amadeus led a £2 million seed funding round in January 2020 alongside Cambridge Enterprise and Sky’s Ocean Ventures impact fund, as well as the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund, managed by Parkwalk Advisors. In January 2021 further funding of £6.2m was raised, led by Horizons Ventures and in which Amadeus funds including the Amadeus EIS Fund also invested.
The funding will be used to develop the prototype material into products. Xampla’s initial target is the $12 billion microencapsulation market, in which manufacturers of home and personal care products currently rely on synthetic polymer capsules, a usage the EU is considering banning.
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’s Intelligence Processor Unit accelerates machine learning model training by a factor of up to 100x compared with current systems.
In 2019 Graphcore announced a close partnership with Microsoft which will see its IPU become available to users of Microsoft’s Azure platform. Graphcore has also partnered with Dell to offer its server to datacentres.
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).
VocalIQ (example of previous exit outside of EIS fund)
VocalIQ is an example of an early-stage investment and successful exit for the Amadeus IV Early-Stage Fund. Please note, the exit example pre-dates the launch of the EIS fund and is not reflected in the EIS track record shown below.
VocalIQ had developed proprietary software to improve dialogue interactions in voice-activated systems. The technology enables users to talk more naturally with their smart devices – phones, wearables, smart-home devices.
The business was originally spun out of Cambridge University and Amadeus led the initial £0.75 million funding round in 2014 alongside co-investment from the University of Cambridge Enterprise fund.
VocalIQ’s technology proved highly desirable and Apple acquired the business 15 months later, generating an 18.9x realised return for the 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, targeted at patients in Intensive Care Unit for continuous monitoring of glucose levels, did not gain commercial traction, even after receiving 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 175 companies, of these 83 have achieved an exit, of which 27 were profitable, delivering an average multiple of 3.66x (December 2020). A further three companies in the Amadeus portfolio have achieved a profitable partial exit as at December 2020, where proceeds from the stakes sold have exceeded the total cost of the respective investment.
The Amadeus Early-Stage EIS fund launched in 2015 and has made investments into 16 companies to December 2020, with an average gross unrealised uplift of 2.3x. Previous investee companies include Graphcore, mentioned above, and AI-powered customer communications technology company ContactEngine (named as one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies by the Financial Times and Statista).
Whilst the Early Stage EIS fund has a limited track record, it appears to have so far managed to identify and backed successful start-ups, although it is yet to achieve an exit. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
The chart below shows the average performance of the total subscribed into the fund each tax year, based on valuations as at 31 December 2020, expressed on a £100 invested basis. Please note, individual investor portfolios’ performance will deviate from the average. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Source: Amadeus Capital, as at 31 December 2020. Performance figures are supplied by Amadeus Capital and are net of all fees, based on Amadeus Capital’s valuation methodology. Past performance is no guide to future performance. These figures do not include any realised returns (exits) as there have not been any. In the above examples, initial tax relief of up to 30% could also apply. Remember tax rules can change and tax benefits depend on circumstances.
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 so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks.
Tax rules can change and benefits depend on circumstances.
This EIS fund invests in early-stage businesses which are more likely to fail than larger ones. So you should expect a number of failures in the portfolio, or even be prepared for all companies to fail.
Please note Amadeus intends to invest in between four and seven investee companies, which may result in a concentrated – and therefore higher risk – portfolio.
Exits could take considerably longer than three years.
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%|
|Dealing charge||from 0.35%|
|Performance fee||20%||Investee company charges|
|Initial charge||—||Annual charge||—|
More detail on the charges
Timing of the offer
Amadeus aims to deploy investor money within 18–24 months from receipt. As is typical with EIS and SEIS investments, it may not be possible to have all funds deployed before a deadline such as the end of the tax year.
The very best startups and entrepreneurs can have their pick of the best investors with whom to partner.
Amadeus Capital Partners is a well-regarded early-stage technology investor. One of its founders, Hermann Hauser, is dubbed “the father of Silicon Fen” – the Cambridge-based answer to Silicon Valley – having founded or co-founded a number of tech companies, including Arm Holdings, the UK’s most successful tech company to date. Anne Glover, the other founder, has been an active venture capitalist for around 30 years and her reputation has earned her prestigious roles, including as a member of the Investment Committee for Yale’s endowment and as a Non-Executive Director in the Court of Directors at the Bank of England.
This experience has historically helped attract high-quality entrepreneurs and investment opportunities – although this is not guaranteed.
Amadeus does not operate a large EIS fund business. It typically makes just four EIS-qualifying investments a year, co-investing alongside its early-stage venture capital funds.
Having launched in 2015, the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund has now invested in 16 investee companies. The portfolio contains some of the UK’s most exciting startups, such as unicorn Graphcore, as well as one of the UK’s fastest-growing startups ContactEngine.
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.
This is 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 – tax-efficient investments. You should base your investment decision 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.
- Target return
- Funds raised / sought
- £750,000 / £750,000
- Minimum investment