Puma Alpha VCT

Managed by 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 £27.0 million, split across a portfolio of 13 companies with £5.4 million held in cash (August 2023). It ended the calendar year with 17 companies, having added seven new companies in 2023. 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 31 March 2024, the VCT achieved a NAV total return (including dividends) of -1.4%. Past performance is not a guide to the future and dividends are variable and not guaranteed. 

  • Seeking to raise up to £15 million with an overallotment facility of £5 million 
  • Targets an annual dividend of 5p per share – variable and not guaranteed
  • Available for the 2024/25 tax year
  • Minimum investment £3,000 – you can apply online
  • Next deadline: 2 December 2024 (5pm) for allotment in 2024/25 tax year

Important: The information on this website is for experienced investors. It is not a 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: you could lose all the money you invest.

The manager

Puma Alpha VCT is managed by the private equity arm of Puma Investments. Puma has a 27 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 £325 million into 65 qualifying companies, and achieving 39 full exits – please note, past performance is not a guide to the future (January 2024). 

The Puma Private Equity team is headed up by Rupert West, who has 16 years’ investment experience. Rupert is responsible for sourcing and leading investments across Puma’s EIS and VCT offers. He is supported by eight investment professionals (four investment directors, one investment manager, two investment executives and one portfolio value creation lead). They have access to Puma Investments’ support services, including 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.


Investment strategy

The VCT seeks scale-up opportunities; well-managed, established, unquoted companies expected to generate revenues in excess of £2 million, with limited external debt. In 2023, the current portfolio produced average revenues of approximately £3.9 million. 

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 2023 calendar year, the Puma Investments private equity team analysed c.550 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 £27.0 million, of which £21.5 million is invested in a portfolio of 13 early-stage companies and £5.4 million is held in cash. The top three holdings account for 44% 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 2023, the VCT invested £1.1 million into three new opportunities. Post period end, the VCT invested a further £2.1 million in four new  companies (TravelLocal, Bikmo, Transreport, Lucky Saint), ending the 2023 calendar year with 17 companies.  

The portfolio currently has a bias towards logistics technology and consumer businesses. The table below shows the sector breakdown by value. 

Source: Puma Investments. Based on asset allocation by value, August 2023.

Examples of portfolio companies 

CameraMatics - Puma Alpha.pngCameraMatics – 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 rewarding drivers for behaviours which reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The business has won large enterprise contracts and serves customers such as Travis Perkins, TNT, and DPD. Recently, the business has focused on launching into the US market and has secured significant new clients wins. CameraMatics now has over 100 employees worldwide and reported annual recurring revenues of $10 million (as at April 2023). 

The holding is currently valued at £6.0 million against an investment cost of £2.5 million (August 2023). Past performance is not a guide to the future.

Pockit-Puma-Alpha.jpgPockit – recent investment

At least one third of the UK struggles to access credit from mainstream lenders, meaning basic necessities such as current accounts and debit cards are unavailable to over 20 million people, PwC reports. 

Pockit launched in 2014 to serve those customers. Its core product, a prepaid card, can be issued to anyone, regardless of credit history, in as little as three minutes. The business has expanded its offering over the years, and now provides a suite of services, including international transfers, budgeting tools, and cashback deals. 

Pockit now serves over 900,000 customers and claims to have processed over $5 billion across 73 million transactions. 

Puma Alpha VCT invested £0.5 million in June 2023. In total, Puma Funds invested £5.3 million as part of a £7 million round which is expected to be used to expand the product range and scale marketing. 

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 – Puma Alpha VCTTictrac – 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

The VCT paid its first dividend of 5p in November 2023, following its exit from Tictrac. The trust will continue to target an annual dividend of 5p per share – dividends are variable and not guaranteed. 

In the three years to 31 March 2024, the VCT achieved a NAV total return (including dividends) of -1.4%. Past performance is not a guide to the future. 

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 31/03/2024.

Dividends paid per calendar year

Source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are not guaranteed. The graph shows the dividends paid per calendar year to 31/03/2024.

Dividend yield history (% of starting NAV)

Calendar year Dividend as % of NAV
2023 4.0%

Source: Morningstar. Dividend yields are based on the dividends paid over the period divided by the starting NAV of the VCT in each period. Past performance is no guide to the future.

Dividend Investment Scheme 

There is no dividend re-investment scheme. 

Share buybacks

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.

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 (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.

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.

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 0%
Existing investor discount 1%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (new investors) 3%
Net initial charge through Wealth Club (existing investors) 2%
Annual management charge 2%
Annual administration charge 0.35%
Performance fee 20%
Annual rebate from Wealth Club 0.15%

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.


  • Deadline for 2024/25 applications: 2 December 2024 (5pm)

Our view

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. 

That said, the VCT appears to be making good progress, paying its first dividend in November 2023, following a 1.9x return from its exit of Tictrac. Several portfolio companies have also recorded significant uplifts, including CameraMatics, a risk management business for fleet and vehicle safety and Everpress, a marketplace for clothing designers. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Dividends are variable and not guaranteed.

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. 

The details

Target dividend
5p per share
Initial charge
Initial saving via Wealth Club
1% for existing investors
Net initial charge
3% (2% for existing investors)
Annual rebate
Funds raised / sought
£1.8 million / £15.0 million
2 Dec 2024 (5pm) for 2024/25
Last updated: 6 February 2024

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