Foresight Williams Technology Shares

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The Foresight Williams Technology Share class is a new share class in the Foresight Solar & Technology VCT (formerly Foresight Solar & Infrastructure VCT). 

It is a collaboration between the Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering and will focus on early-stage, high-growth technology businesses. Foresight and Williams have been working together since 2015 and launched an EIS fund the following year, raising £40 million to date. This new VCT share class is presented as the next natural step in the collaboration between the two businesses. 

Highlights

  • New share class within an established VCT
  • A collaboration between Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering
  • Early-stage focus, often pre-revenue
  • Invests in technology businesses, typically with an advanced engineering focus
  • Minimum investment £3,000

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.

Read important documents and apply

The manager

The VCT will have the same team, process and investment strategy as the Foresight Williams EIS. 

The trust will be managed by Foresight Group. Foresight Group now has £4 billion of assets under management, including £450 million in VCTs and EIS funds managed on behalf of over 24,000 investors. 

Williams Advanced Engineering (‘Williams’) is the technical adviser. The team believes its involvement will add value in two ways. Firstly, Williams’ technical expertise should provide the team with greater due diligence on potential investee companies. Secondly, investee companies could benefit from Williams acting as a consultant to help develop, optimise or solve engineering problems, thereby potentially enhancing the companies’ value, although there are no guarantees. Williams’ consultancy services will be provided for at a discounted rate. 

Foresight Group's wider network of industry contacts will generate deal flow. The team will look for opportunities where Williams can add value through enhanced due diligence, technological, or engineering support. This is not an opportunity to invest in businesses spun out of Williams, nor to co-invest with Williams. 

The investment team responsible for managing the EIS and VCT is made up of nine investment professionals: four from Foresight Group and five from Williams. Since launching the Foresight Williams EIS in 2016, the team has invested in 15 companies. 

Watch a video interview with Andy Bloxam, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight Group

Investment strategy

The Foresight Williams Technology share class aims to focus on early-stage companies with strong intellectual property, operating in attractive, substantive markets where the manager believes Williams’ technology, engineering, commercial and promotional support may offer a distinct advantage.

Beyond this, there are a number of criteria the team looks for when evaluating potential opportunities. For instance, investee companies must demonstrate they have developed innovative technology that offers clear advantages to the end consumer as well as a clear roadmap towards commercialisation within 24 months. 

Performance

As this is a new offer, performance data is not yet available.

Current portfolio overview

If the current fundraising offer is fully subscribed, the VCT is expected to target a portfolio of at least five investee companies, with each company receiving maximum 15% of the trust’s total assets. The VCT will invest alongside the Foresight Williams EIS fund in new and follow-on investments.

The Foresight Williams EIS has made 15 investment since launch in 2016. As the VCT is yet to make an investment, the example companies below are from the EIS portfolio. Investments made by the VCT may be different.

Oxford Space Systems – Foresight Williams EISOxford Space Systems

In May 2018, the Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund invested £2.1 million into Oxford Space Systems Ltd (‘OSS’), an award-winning space technology business. OSS has developed a new generation of light-weight antennae, boom systems and deployable panel systems for nanosatellites. Their designs address a number of technical challenges in the industry whilst providing significant savings in both build and launch costs. The company could be well suited to the fund as its focus on lightweight materials and structural innovation seems a good match for Williams’s capabilities.

The company has had a number of successes in recent years. In 2017, it set two industry world record by deploying the OSS AstroTube boom just 30 months after the initial concept.

Open Bionics – Foresight Williams EISOpen Bionics

Open Bionics is a Bristol start-up that is developing a new generation of advanced bionic hands and arms. The company uses 3D printing and scanning technology to produce custom-made prosthetics at a lower manufacturing cost than usual, in an area of prosthetics considered expensive. Its first commercial product, the Hero Arm, secured commercial licenses from Disney, Marvel and Pixar to design arms for children with themes from Star Wars, Frozen and the Marvel Universe. 

Foresight Williams invested £1.5 million in January 2019 alongside Downing LLP, Ananda Impact Ventures and Rathbone Nominees to complete a joint £4.66 million funding.

Performance and dividend target

The VCT will target a dividend yield of 5% from 2024, please note dividends are variable and not guaranteed. This is a new VCT, so performance figures are not yet available.

Risks: important

This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice. 

VCTs 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.

VCTs can now only invest new money in growth capital deals. Management buyouts, replacement capital deals and investments in mature companies are no longer permitted. This results in considerably higher risks.

This is a new VCT share class. If fundraising is slow, shares may take some time to be allotted (no shares will be allotted until this minimum subscription level of £1 million before expenses is reached).

Charges and savings

A summary of the main charges and savings is shown below. The net initial charge shown includes the Wealth Club saving and any early bird discount. The investment may have additional charges and expenses: please see the provider documents including the Key Information Document for more details.

Full initial charge 5.5%
Early bird discount
Wealth Club initial saving 3%
Existing shareholder discount 0.5%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors) 2.5%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing shareholders) 2%
Annual management charge 2%
Annual administration charge 0.3%
Performance fee 20%
Annual rebate from Wealth Club (for three years) 0.10%

More detail on the charges

Deadlines

  • Invest by 5 June 2020 for next allotment.
  • Invest by 18 December 2020 for allotment in 2020/21 tax year.

Share buy-back policy

The Company aims to operate a buy-back policy at a 10% discount to net asset value (with the intention to narrow this to 5% from five years after the close of the offer) . Please see the offer documents for details.

Dividend reinvestment scheme

The VCT does not have a dividend reinvestment scheme in place.

Annual rebate when you invest through Wealth Club

The VCT includes an annual rebate for Wealth Club investors, payable for the first three years. 

This is a rebate of our renewal commission and should be equivalent to 0.10% of the Net Asset Value of the Offer Shares issued to you when you invest. Terms and conditions apply.

Our view

The new Foresight Williams Technology Share class could add greater variety to the VCT landscape. The Foresight Williams EIS proposition has enjoyed some success in raising capital from investors, and the team has deployed the capital into a small number of interesting businesses, such as the two mentioned above. This new VCT share class is designed to offer investors another way of accessing the Foresight Williams team and the opportunities they invest in, in a VCT structure.

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.

The details

Type
Generalist
Target dividend
5% from 2024
Initial charge
5.5%
Initial saving via Wealth Club
3% (3.5% for existing shareholders)
Net initial charge
2.5% (2% existing shareholders)
Annual rebate
0.10%
Funds raised / sought
£2.1 million / £20.0 million
Deadline
5 Jun 2020 for next allotment

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