13th February 2020, 3:43 pm

Praetura Ventures, the Manchester-based investor that backs early-stage businesses in high-value sectors, has successfully closed its second EIS fund at £7m in a move that brings the total raised by the firm to £22m in less than 12 months.

The £7m Praetura EIS 2020 Fund will enable the firm to continue to support the growth ambitions of high-quality scale-up businesses across the region and will now be deployed alongside the strategic support and guidance of the 25-strong team at Praetura Ventures.

They will work closely with the management teams backed by the fund to implement growth strategies and drive scale post-investment, and the fund is expected to be deployed by the end of March 2020.

It follows the firm’s record-breaking £15m Praetura EIS 2019 Fund, which closed in May 2019 and was deployed in just seven months following investments in businesses such as SteamaCo, a Manchester-based technology supplier to energy providers in Asia and Africa; FeedStock, an AI-driven SaaS business; and Patchwork, a rapidly growing healthtech start-up on a mission to solve the NHS staffing crisis.

David Foreman, managing director at Praetura Ventures, said: “The response that investors have shown to Praetura Ventures since we announced our maiden EIS fund less than 12 months ago has been phenomenal. To have raised £22m is testament to the quality of the team we have built and the size of the opportunity that lies ahead.

“This latest fundraise demonstrates the high demand for genuine venture capital, particularly when it comes to northern businesses. Since launching Praetura Ventures last year, we have seen more than 1,000 opportunities and received more than £1bn in funding requests from early-stage companies, so we know the demand is there. Our focus on providing more than money to the businesses we back is something that resonates with investors and we are very grateful for their continued support.”

The Praetura EIS 2020 Fund is expected to provide returns to investors approximately four to seven years after its close and the Praetura Ventures team has already identified a number of early-stage businesses that are seeking growth capital and the strategic support of an investment partner across sectors such as fintech, artificial intelligence and healthtech.

In addition to this support, portfolio firms are also provided with access to Praetura Ventures’ network, experience and resources.

Jon Prescott, business development director at Praetura Ventures, added: “The interest and support we’ve had from financial advisers during 2019 has been fantastic and having developed our proposition with the intermediary market at the forefront of our thinking, we’re pleased to see advisory firms recognising this.

“The diversity of our portfolio, our speed of deployment and our northern focus have all been well received by investors and their advisers. The progress we’ve made since launching our first fund last year has been brilliant and we look forward to sharing news of further investments, as well as details about our next fund, very soon.”

In addition to the fund close, and in response to the growth of the Praetura Ventures portfolio, the firm has also announced the appointment of Andy Sumner as portfolio managing director. Andy brings more than 20 years’ experience of supporting high-growth businesses and will work closely alongside portfolio managing director Ben Hatton to support the businesses backed by Praetura Ventures.

Praetura was the first to invest in AI and machine learning business, Peak, in 2016, and was also the first to back rapidly-growing SaaS delivery management platform, Sorted Group. Praetura most recently participated in Sorted Group’s £15m investment round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment Company in August 2019, making it one of the North West’s fastest growing tech companies.


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