Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund

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As at 5 April 2022 (5pm), the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund closed for applications.

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Amadeus Capital Partners (‘Amadeus’) is one of the UK’s leading venture capital firms.

Started in 1997 by Anne Glover and Hermann Hauser, who previously co-founded UK tech giant Arm, Amadeus has raised over $1 billion for 22 venture capital funds – mainly from institutional investors, including British Patient Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Oxbridge Colleges. 

Over time, Amadeus has built a team of investors and entrepreneurs, who all share a passion for the transformative power of technology. They have invested in more than 180 companies and fully exited 87, of which 28 were profitable, generating total gross proceeds of £602 million and an average return multiple of 3.73x – 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, the Amadeus Early Stage team invest in eight to ten new companies a year and historically the majority have been EIS qualifying.

Amadeus’s current EIS portfolio includes many deep technology and healthcare businesses, such as AI chipmaker Graphcore (reportedly valued at $2.77 billion), drug discovery company Phoremost, natural polymer manufacturer Xampla, and, most recently, Biofidelity who aims to revolutionise cancer diagnostics. The Fund has seen a successful exit of AI-powered customer communications technology company ContactEngine (named as one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies by the Financial Times and Statista), which was acquired in June 2021 by Israeli software enterprise company NICE Systems, generating a 2.5x realised return for the Fund.

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not advice nor a research or personal recommendation to invest. If you’re unsure, please seek advice. Investments are for the long term. They are high risk and illiquid and can fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest.


Highlights

  • 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 months, not guaranteed
  • Target holding period of three to eight years 
  • 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.

The manager

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 180 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 (Brazil). Anne Glover CBE and Hermann Hauser KBE founded the business in 1997 and, together with Amelia Armour, constitute the investment committee of Amadeus’s Early-Stage Funds. 

Amelia Armour is the lead fund manager for the Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund and is a Partner in the Early Stage Funds. Amelia sits on the boards of several Amadeus investee companies, including Xampla, which has produced a natural alternative to single-use plastics, Paragraf, a developer of graphene-based electronic devices, and Poly AI, an enterprise voice-assistant company, as well as being Amadeus’s board observer for Graphcore, the chip designer for artificial intelligence.

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 CDC, 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 spun out Arm, 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 $32 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 XMOS and Graphcore.

The investment committee is supported by a further three partners, Manjari Chandran-Ramesh, Nick Kingsbury, and Pierre Socha, as well as a venture partner, an associate and an analyst, as well as having in-house legal, IT, finance and support teams.

Investment strategy

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. 

Target return

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, 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. 

Exit strategy

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.

Portfolio

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 – Amadeus Early-Stage EIS FundXampla – 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. In February 2022, Xampla announced a partnership with Croda International to develop microplastic free and biodegradable seed coatings. 

Graphcore – Amadeus Early-Stage EIS FundGraphcore

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).

ContactEngine – ProVen VCTsContactEngine – 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 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, 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.

Performance

Across its fund range, Amadeus has invested in over 180 companies. 87 have achieved an exit, of which 28 were profitable, delivering an average multiple of 3.73x (September 2021). 

The Amadeus Early Stage EIS Fund launched in 2015 and invested in 17 companies. It appears to have so far identified and backed successful start-ups. The Fund has seen two profitable partial exits, representing an average 4.1x return on cost, and one liquidation (Glysure). The remainder of the portfolio is currently showing unrealised gains of 2.4x cost. All figures to September 2021, 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 30 September 2021, 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.

Performance per £100 invested per tax year

Source: Amadeus Capital, as at 30 September 2021. Performance figures are supplied by Amadeus Capital and are net of all fees, based on Amadeus Capital’s valuation methodology. The Fund did not take any subscriptions during the 2020/2021 tax year. Past performance is no guide to future performance. 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: equally an early exit could result in a loss of tax relief.

Charges

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.

Investor charges
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
Administration charge
Dealing charge from 0.35%
Performance fee 20%
Investee company charges
Initial charge
Annual charge
All fees and charges are stated exclusive of VAT, which may be applicable in some cases. Any fees and charges payable by the investee companies or the underlying businesses do not directly come out of your investment. However, they will effectively reduce the returns generated by investee companies and therefore impact your investment.

More detail on the charges

Timing of the offer

Amadeus aims to deploy investor money within 18 months. 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.

Our view

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 endowment fund 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 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 17 investee companies by the end of September 2021. The portfolio contains some of the UK’s most exciting start-ups, such as unicorn Graphcore and single-use plastic replacement company Xampla. 

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. 

The details

Type
Fund
Sector
Technology
Target return
-
Funds raised / sought
-
Minimum investment
-
Deadline
CLOSED
Last updated: 9 February 2022

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