Puma Alpha VCT
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Register your interest – Puma Alpha VCT
Managed by the private equity arm of Puma Investments, Puma Alpha VCT follows a generalist strategy, investing into scale-up opportunities alongside Puma’s other funds.
It launched in 2019 and has net assets of £22.6 million, split across a portfolio of nine companies with £6.1 million held in cash. The portfolio is highly concentrated, although investments are held across multiple sectors and range from a developer marketplace platform to a cycling apparel business.
In 2022, the VCT achieved its first cash exit with Tictrac, a health engagement platform, delivering a 1.9x return on investment. In the three years to September 2023, the VCT achieved a NAV total return (including dividends) of 18.8%. Past performance is not a guide to the future and dividends are variable and not guaranteed.
Puma Alpha VCT is managed by the private equity arm of Puma Investments. Puma has a 26 year track record of investing in small and medium-sized enterprises. In total, it has launched 14 VCTs and two EIS funds, investing more than £275 million into 59 qualifying companies, and achieving 35 full exits – please note, past performance is not a guide to the future (August 2022).
The Puma Private Equity team is headed up by Rupert West, who has 14 years’ investment experience. Rupert is responsible for sourcing and leading investments across Puma’s EIS and VCT offers. Rupert is supported by five investment professionals (one investment director and four investment managers), all of whom joined Puma Investments between 2017 and 2019. The team also has access to a team assistant and the wider support services from Puma Investments, which includes in-house legal counsel and its senior management team.
Meet the manager: Rupert West of Puma Investments
This interview was recorded for Puma VCT 13, managed by the same team, so although not about this fund, it does cover their investment approach.
The VCT seeks scale-up opportunities; well-managed, established, unquoted companies expected to generate revenues in excess of £2 million, with limited external debt. On average, the companies in which the VCT invested in 2021 produced revenue of approximately £5.6 million. The investment will primarily be in the form of ordinary equity and loan notes.
Puma Alpha VCT has a similar investment mandate to the Puma Alpha EIS (launched in 2017) and Puma VCT 13 and will co-invest in many of the same deals. This may help the manager deploy capital swiftly and access opportunities otherwise out of reach for a relatively new VCT.
Puma believes it has a strong pipeline of new deals, thanks to the difficulties SMEs continue to face raising money from traditional banks, alongside Puma’s established network of deal introducers. In the 2021 calendar year, the Puma Investments private equity team analysed c.380 potential deals.
Pending investment, the manager may invest funds in a range of non-qualifying investments, such as cash, money market funds and listed debt and equities.
Current portfolio overview
The VCT has net assets of £22.6 million, of which £16.3 million is invested in a portfolio of nine early-stage companies and £6.1 million is held in cash. The top three holdings account for 41% of net assets, so the portfolio is highly concentrated, as is often the case with newer, smaller VCTs.
In the six months to 31 August 2022, the VCT invested £2.6 million into one new and three follow-on opportunities (August 2022).
The portfolio currently has a bias towards software & computer services and consumer goods. The table below shows the sector breakdown by value.
Examples of portfolio companies
CameraMatics – largest investment
CameraMatics provides award-winning technology which automates safety and performance for fleet management companies and mobile workforces.
Its technology can be deployed to any vehicle and translates big data from onboard sensors and cameras into insights which can help optimise fleet performance – from auto-capturing accident footage through to measuring the specific driving style of each worker.
The business has won large enterprise contracts and recently announced its first acquisition with Telematicus, a telematics data provider for the insurance industry. Combined, CameraMatics now services over 900 commercial fleets and has increased its headcount to more than 85 employees.
The holding is currently valued at £4.4 million against an investment cost of £1.7 million (August 2022). Past performance is not a guide to the future.
MUSO – recent investment
Established in 2009, MUSO helps content producers protect their IP, measure audience engagement, and develop content-monetisation strategies.
Its technology – used by the likes of Amazon Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Disney – measures audience demand data across illegal streaming and torrenting websites. This data can then be used to automate discovery and removal of pirated content, highlight trends in an under-reported audience, and drive customer acquisition through browsing behaviour.
As an example, when a large rights-holder had its flagship TV series leaked, it contracted MUSO which immediately enabled searching on more than 25 billion piracy web pages. Within the first 24 hours, over 500 illegal files and 8,500 listings were removed, with no illegal links available one week after the campaign started. MUSO estimates this prevented 2-2.5 million illegal visits and downloads for the series within the first 30 days.
Puma Alpha VCT invested £0.5 million in August 2022 and in total Puma invested £3.2 million across all its funds.
Exit track record
The VCT achieved its first full exit in May 2022 with Tictrac (detailed below), generating a realised gain of c.£551,000. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
There have been no failures within the portfolio to date, although given the nature of early-stage investing these should be expected.
Tictrac – recent exit
Tictrac is a health and wellbeing engagement platform.
Founder, Martin Blinder, first thought of the concept while working on an alcohol awareness project for Cancer Research UK. This sparked an idea for a platform which could motivate people to take more accountability of their own health.
Tictrac uses a combination of behavioural science and consumer-centric design to provide users with personalised and themed lifestyle campaigns, programmes, and incentivised challenges, all of which encourage meaningful behaviour change.
Its platform is used by some of the largest global insurers, including Allianz, Prudential, and Aviva as well as thousands of employers and government health bodies. Its clients benefit from improved member retention and greater uptake of benefit and reward schemes.
In May 2022, Canadian telemedicine firm Dialogue Health Technologies acquired Tictrac. The sale generated a 1.9x return for Puma Alpha VCT, based on an investment cost of £600,000. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Performance and dividends
There is a target dividend of 5p per share, payable from April 2023, please note dividends are variable and not guaranteed.
In the three years to September 2023, the VCT achieved a NAV total return (including dividends) of 18.8%. Past performance is not a guide to the future and dividends are variable and not guaranteed.
Note, we show VCT returns over a five-year period as a minimum, where possible. Where a VCT has followed the same investment strategy for longer, we also show returns over 10 years.
NAV and cumulative dividends per share (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 31/12/2020 to 30/09/2023.
Dividends paid per calendar year
Source: Morningstar. Dividends paid in calendar year for the period 31/12/2017 – 30/09/2023. Dividends are not guaranteed and past performance is not a guide to the future.
Dividend yield (% of NAV) history
|Calendar year||Dividend as % of NAV|
Source: Morningstar. Dividend yields are based on the dividends paid over the period divided by the starting NAV of the VCT over the same period. Past performance is no guide to the future.
Dividend Investment Scheme
There is no dividend re-investment scheme.
The board intends to buy back shares at up to a 5% discount to the prevailing net asset value. This is not guaranteed – please see the offer documents for details.
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 (or premium).
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 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.
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.
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||3%|
|Early bird discount||—|
|Wealth Club initial saving||1%|
|Existing investor discount||1%|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors)||2%|
|Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing investors)||1%|
|Annual management charge||2%|
|Annual administration charge||0.35%|
|Annual rebate from Wealth Club||0.10%|
More detail on the charges
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.
This is still a relatively new VCT in the process of building up its portfolio. Unlike established VCTs, investors do not gain exposure to a large existing portfolio and concentration risk is high. It also means there are unlikely to be any dividends in the early years – indeed, the first dividend payment is expected, but not guaranteed, this year.
That said, the VCT appears to be making good progress, generating a 1.9x return from its first exit and recording significant uplifts with Le Col, the premium cycling brand and CameraMatics, a risk management business for fleet and vehicle safety. Past performance is not a guide to the future.
Whilst the VCT is still small, it benefits from the resources of the wider Puma Investment business. Puma Investments operates several similar investment mandates through Puma VCT 13 and its EIS service. It is expected these mandates will co-invest in many of the same deals. This may allow this young VCT to punch above its weight in terms of attracting deal flow and participating in larger funding rounds.
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 dividend
- Initial charge
- Initial saving via Wealth Club
- Net initial charge
- Annual rebate
- Funds raised / sought