Foresight Williams Technology Shares

“Meet the manager” video – watch below

Launched in December 2019, the Foresight Williams Technology Share class is a new share class in Foresight Solar & Technology VCT (formerly Foresight Solar & Infrastructure VCT). 

The VCT is managed by 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. To date, the EIS service has deployed £42.5  million. This new VCT share class marks another stage in the collaboration between the two businesses. 

The share class has net assets of £12.8 million (September 2021) and has invested in 10  companies to date. 

The current offer is seeking to raise £20 million with an overallotment facility of £10 million. 

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 then apply


  • New share class within an established VCT
  • A collaboration between Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering
  • Early-stage focus, can be pre-revenue
  • Invests in technology businesses, typically with an advanced engineering focus
  • Available for tax year 2022/23
  • Minimum investment £3,000

The manager

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

The trust is managed by Foresight Group. Foresight Group now has £8.1  billion of assets under management, including £430  million in VCTs and EIS funds managed on behalf of over 22,000 investors. 

Williams Advanced Engineering Limited (‘Williams’) is the technical adviser to the VCT. It was formed in 2010 when Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited spun out its specialist engineering division into a separate company. The business has since grown to more than 300 employees. In 2019 Williams was acquired by EMK Capital, a private equity group, with Williams Grand Prix Engineering retaining a minority stake. Williams continues to be based at the same Oxford campus as Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Foresight believes Williams’ involvement will add value to its EIS and VCT funds in two ways. Firstly, Williams’ technical expertise should provide the team with enhanced 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 company’s value, although there are no guarantees. Williams will provide pro bono advice and support, and any specific consulting projects will be provided at a discounted rate. 

Foresight believes the specialist technical knowledge of the Williams team – for example, helping to design products that are cheaper and quicker to produce, understanding of electrical systems, where to file patents or knowledge of advanced materials – has on occasion been instrumental in winning competitive funding rounds for investors in both the EIS and VCT. 

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

The core investment team responsible for managing the EIS and VCT is made up of six investment professionals: three from Foresight Group and three from Williams. The team is overseen by an eight-strong investment committee that includes senior members of Foresight Group and Williams. The investment team can also draw on the wider experience of Foresight Group’s 30  strong private equity team.  

Meet the manager: Watch our interview with Andy Bloxam of Foresight:


Investment strategy

The Foresight Williams Technology share class aims to invest in 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.

Foresight believes its focus on deep technology and innovative technologies within hardware and engineering sectors can often lead to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) benefits. 

The team looks for certain qualities 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 roadmap towards commercialisation within 24 months. Target markets should be in excess of £100 million per annum, and investee companies must be run by ambitious and experienced management teams. 

Williams’ core competencies are in:

  • Aerodynamics and thermodynamics
  • Battery systems and energy storage
  • Composites, materials and nanomaterials 
  • Data analytics
  • Electric machines and drives
  • Electronics and control systems
  • Lightweight structures
  • Prototyping 
  • System Integration

It is expected (not guaranteed) the VCT will focus on opportunities where Williams’ technical, commercial or promotional support can add value.

Current portfolio overview

The VCT will invest alongside the Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund in new and follow-on investments.

The VCT has net assets of £12.8 million (September 2021) and has begun to make its first investments. To date, the VCT has invested into nine companies alongside its EIS service (September 2021).

Examples of portfolio companies

ReFeyn – Foresight WilliamsRefeyn

Identifying and measuring protein molecules is an integral part of life sciences research, particularly in the development of new medicines. Refeyn is commercialising a disruptive technology that uses light to measure a molecule’s mass (mass photometry). The patented technology was invented at and spun out of the University of Oxford and allows users to characterise molecules significantly faster and at a lower cost than existing techniques. 

The VCT invested £360k into the business in November 2020 as part of a larger growth funding round led by Northpond Ventures, a $1 billion US Life Sciences fund, Oxford Sciences Innovation, the University of Oxford, and Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures. The investment will future support the commercialisation of Refeyn’s technology and position the company for future growth. 

Machine Discovery – Foresight Williams VCTMachine Discovery 

A University of Oxford spinout, Machine Discovery has developed technology capable of analysing data at accelerated speeds. 

Founded by world-class physicists and machine learning engineers, Machine Discovery’s technology is based on neural networks – machine learning systems inspired by the brain’s wiring. Through this method, its software can be ‘trained’ to identify patterns in specific simulations, dramatically reducing the processing timeframe.

In one demonstration, a climate model that would normally take 1.5 months to analyse could be run 110 million times faster using Machine Discovery while still providing the same level of accuracy.

Foresight Williams invested through the VCT and EIS fund in April 2021. The round raised £1.6 million for the company alongside co-investors Oxford Technology, and the University of Oxford Innovation Fund (UOIF).

Performance and dividends

The VCT will target an average dividend of 5% per annum from 2024. Please note dividends are variable and not guaranteed. 

This is a relatively new VCT, so the performance track record is still limited – see below.

Nav and cumulative dividends per share over five years (p) 

Source: Morningstar. Past performance is no guide to the future. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed. The bar chart shows net asset value and cumulative dividends per share for the period 31 Dec 2016 to 31 March 2022.

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. 

To retain the tax benefits, VCTs should be held for at least five years. If you sell VCT shares and reinvest in new shares of the same VCT (including any mergers) within six months, tax relief can be restricted. 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 and while the fund is small there will be limited diversification.

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, offer price and share allotment calculation methodology.

Please note, capacity – for the offer or any early bird savings – can be reached early, and we may not be notified of this by the VCT in real time.

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


  • Final allotment in 2022/23 tax year: 4 January 2023

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.

Discount history

VCT shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange. Similar to investment trusts, the share price can fluctuate and can be different from the VCT’s net asset value (NAV), i.e. the value of the VCT’s underlying investments. The difference between the share price of a VCT and its net asset value per share is called a discount.

Investors should note the VCT has less than a five year track record. Trading of the VCTs shares will be immaterial and any consideration of the share price movements in relation to the net asset value per share will be inconclusive. The discount history chart will be published once the VCT has a five year track record.

Investors looking to sell their VCT shares may get a better price using the VCT’s share buyback facility, although this is not guaranteed.

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 a percentage (shown in the table above) 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. On behalf of the VCT, the team has deployed the capital into 10 deep technology businesses so far, investing alongside some of the world's leading venture capital investors. 

The involvement of Williams Advanced Engineering appears to add a disciplined sector focus to the investment strategy and an avenue in which the team might look to add value to investors’ capital. The combination of a large asset management business with a cutting edge advanced engineering business may create a compelling destination for entrepreneurs seeking funding. Please note the track record is limited, and there are no guarantees. You should form your own view.

The 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. The Foresight Group has ambitions to grow the VCT considerably over the coming years. If Foresight is successful, investors will gain exposure to a growing portfolio of deep technology and advanced engineering businesses. 

Read important documents and then apply

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

Target dividend
5% of NAV from 2024
Initial charge
Initial saving via Wealth Club
3% (3.5% for existing shareholders)
Net initial charge
2.5% (2% for existing shareholder)
Annual rebate
Funds raised / sought
£3.3 million / £20.0 million
Apply now for 2022/23 allotment
Last updated: 6 January 2022

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