Praetura EIS Growth Fund
You are now able to apply
Please read all the offer information first
Praetura Group (“Praetura”) has been investing in early-stage businesses since it was founded in 2011. However, Praetura Ventures was set up in 2018 to create a dedicated EIS fund management business, focused on companies based in the North of England.
The first EIS fund launched in 2019 and raised £14.5 million on the back of Praetura’s reputation – at that point the largest ever maiden EIS raise. Subsequent funds have gone on to raise a further £46.6 million. Praetura Ventures also manages £20 million on behalf of British Business Investments Regional Angel Programme, and a £20 million Life Sciences fund for Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
The Fund is managed by a large, dedicated venture capital team which, together with other Praetura employees, board members, and Operational Partners, has collectively invested £8.9 million into the EIS funds (September 2023).
- Target return of 2x over 5-7 years, not guaranteed
- Expects to fully deploy capital into a portfolio of 8-10 companies within six months of a soft close date (not guaranteed)
- Minimum investment of £25,000 – you can apply online
- Deadline: 30 April 2024 for next close
Praetura was founded in 2011 to capitalise on what the founding partners believe is a sizeable opportunity to invest in early-stage businesses in the North of England. Today it consists of six subsidiary businesses, including Praetura Ventures, which provide a range of operational and financial services. The Group currently has assets under management of £544 million.
Praetura Ventures was established in 2018. A year later, Praetura’s first EIS fund was launched, raising £14.5 million. Subsequent funds have since raised £46.6 million.
Praetura has an investment team of 17, split between three divisions: technology, healthcare, and portfolio. The technology and healthcare teams are responsible for due diligence and deal selection while the portfolio team provides post-investment strategic support. Praetura’s network of seven Operational Partners – who previously had senior roles at companies such as JD Sports, AO.com, and Dr Martens – serve as mentors to the portfolio.
Praetura has developed its own reporting software, which helps the team understand its portfolio companies. As well as supporting investment and portfolio management decisions, this enables the manager to produce, in our view, high-calibre investor communications.
Praetura staff and Operational Partners have personally invested £8.9 million into the EIS funds (September 2023).
Before your subscription is invested, the cash will be held by the custodian, Mainspring Nominees Limited. Shares will be held by the nominee, MNL Nominees Limited.
The North of England accounts for around 20% of the UK’s population, economic output, and active companies but just 7% of the UK’s venture capital investment. Praetura believes there is a funding gap of almost £10 billion for early-stage businesses in the region. The Praetura EIS Fund aims to capitalise on this opportunity.
The manager favours B2B business models, as they typically provide access to larger clients and stickier revenue streams. Companies must be scalable and be able to demonstrate momentum at the point of investment. Ideally, businesses should be considered capable of doubling revenues each year post investment.
The portfolio is likely to be weighted towards technology and healthcare, although the team will consider any sector. To aid diversification, the portfolio will be split between seed capital (annual revenue up to £500k), development capital (£500k to £2m revenue) and growth capital (over £2 million revenue). The investment team believes this should give investors a more balanced risk/return potential.
Due to its strong regional network, Praetura does not do any outbound deal sourcing. Instead, it relies on its partnerships with accountancy firms and accelerator programmes to provide opportunities as this has the added benefit of external validation. Using this method, the investment team reviews 200 opportunities each month. Praetura aims to be one of the first institutional investors in its portfolio companies at the point of investment, looking to lead rounds with an investment of £1 million to £3 million and to take an initial equity stake of 5-30%. In addition, Praetura anticipates committing around 30% of funds to follow-on investments.
Once a company receives investment, Praetura will offer strategic support through a range of services. Investee companies will have access to its Operational Partners programme, corporate partnerships, and Praetura’s in-house financial reporting platform which is integrated into each business.
The fund targets a return of 2x before tax relief over 5–7 years – not guaranteed.
Since launching its EIS funds in 2019 Praetura has backed 36 companies, investing £53.4 million. Investors in this fund are expected to receive a portfolio of 8–10 companies.
Below are portfolio company examples from previous EIS-qualifying investments made by Praetura Group. 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.
Seatfrog – recent investment
According to Seatfrog, major European trainlines only sell around 25-30% of their first-class tickets, leaving roughly 570 million seats unsold every year.
Seatfrog aims to solve this by making it easier to upgrade, switch, and purchase train tickets. Its live auctions allow passengers to bid on upgrades, often at significantly reduced prices, right up until the train departs. Since launching, Seatfrog claims to have saved travellers over £43 million in ticket fares while also increasing operator revenues.
The company now has more than a million customers and has secured long-term contracts with every major rail company in the UK. In 2022, it grew revenues by over 800% and is focused on expanding into Europe, having recently signed terms with Trenitalia, Italy’s national train operator.
The Praetura EIS Growth Fund invested c.£800,000 in February 2023 as part of a £6 million funding round alongside Pembroke VCT and Octopus Ventures.
Founded in 2014 by Richard Potter (CEO), David Leitch (COO) and Atul Sharma (CTO), Peak provides the building blocks so technical and commercial teams can adopt AI applications at scale. Its platform helps businesses harness the potential of AI to grow revenues, increase profits and increase efficiency.
The company now has over 250 employees in six offices around the world. It has delivered significant commercial benefits – from improving the efficiency of SpeedyHire’s distribution network to optimising inventory management for B&M. Other clients include the likes of PepsiCo, ASOS, KFC and Nike.
Praetura originally invested £1 million in June 2016, based on a pre-money valuation of £4 million, to support R&D and recruit the company’s first data scientists. Praetura has made a number of subsequent investments, most recently in August 2021 as part of a $75 million round alongside global investors, including the Softbank Vision Fund. Based on this transaction, the Praetura investments are showing an average unrealised gain of 4.1x. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Examples of previous exits and failures
The Praetura EIS funds have yet to see an exit. However, the team achieved five successful exits from its previous EIS-qualifying investments – including Lloyd’s broker EC3 (see below) - as well as eight failures. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
EC3 Brokers - example of previous exit
The company was founded by Danny Driscoll after a multi-decade career in the insurance market which included positions at Integro, Gallagher and Aon. EC3 launched with a book of business acquired from Gallagher and quickly won clients after gaining FCA permissions. The company was profitable within its first year and grew to operate across a wide range of specialist insurance sectors, including cyber insurance, business interruption and specie (protecting high-value, portable items – such as jewels and cash).
Praetura invested a total of £600,000, with the first investment in 2014. In 2017, the business was acquired by its senior management through an MBO. This provided Praetura investors with a full exit at a 19.2x realised return. Five years after the exit (November 2022), the business entered administration. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Ostara Biomedical – example of previous failure
As with any early-stage investment, not all will work out. An example is Ostara Biomedical. The company created technology designed to improve fertility. One of its products, Evie™, was the first slow-release medical Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) device – a cheaper and less invasive alternative to IVF.
Praetura invested at an earlier stage than it would ordinarily do, believing the business could expand through an acquisition/merger with a later-stage technology business, potentially mitigating risks, and start bringing in some revenue.
However, technical development was significantly disrupted by the pandemic and the business operated at a reduced capacity. The management team was not able to raise funds in 2021 and Praetura was not comfortable leading a funding round without external validation. The business filed for administration in June 2022.
Praetura’s EIS fund was launched in 2019 and has since invested £53.4 million into 36 companies.
The chart below shows the average performance of EIS investments made in each full tax year from 2012/13 to 2022/23. 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 of Praetura EIS Growth Fund after launch per £100 invested
Source: Praetura Ventures, as at August 2023. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The Praetura EIS Growth Fund launched in 2019. 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.
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 and savings is shown below. Some of these will be payable by the investor, 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 detail.
|Full initial charge||2.5%|
|Wealth Club initial saving||—|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club||2.5%||Annual management charge||2%|
|Administration charge||See below|
|Performance fee||20%||Investee company charges|
|Initial charge||Up to 4%||Annual charge||Up to £36,000|
More detail on the charges
Praetura Ventures has ambitions to become one of the UK’s leading venture capital businesses. It has built a well resourced, professional venture capital team and has developed a reputation as a committed regional investor, with the majority of its portfolio based outside of London and the South East. This focus, combined with the team’s post-investment support, helps Praetura attract deal flow from across the UK.
The fund looks to back eight to ten early-stage companies across a variety of sectors. Each business must have demonstrated both a scalable business model and increasing revenues or other signs of early momentum at the point of investment.
The Praetura EIS fund is still comparatively young and has not achieved any profitable exits. However, Praetura has been investing in early-stage companies for over a decade and experienced some success prior to launching the EIS fund.
Additionally, investors may value the quality of Praetura’s investor communications, which are market leading in our view.
You are now able to apply
Please read all the offer information first
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.
- Target return
- Funds raised / sought
- Minimum investment
- 30 Apr 2024