THE BRITISH Business Bank (BBB) has given financial backing to a fund investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a technology focus.
British Business Bank Investments, BBB’s commercial arm, has committed €40m (£35m) to the Harbert European Growth Capital Fund II.
The fund focuses on fast-growing technology SMEs, particularly those backed by venture capital firms.
“British Business Bank Investments Ltd is committed to ensuring small businesses can access as diverse a range of finance options as possible help them grow and succeed – this €40m investment from our investment programme underlines this commitment,” Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of British Business Bank Investments, said.
“For innovative smaller businesses, venture debt finance can be the key to unlocking rapid growth without losing control of their business.”
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The Harbert fund is run by David Bateman and Johan Kampe and expects to make its first investment shortly.
It comes after the British Business Bank’s Equity Tracker, based on publicly-announced deals across venture capital, equity crowdfunding, business angels and private equity, showed transactions slipped by 18 per cent last year, and fell four per cent in value.
There were 1,148 equity deals with an investment value of £3.4bn.
Despite the declines in deals, investment in technology firms hit a record level of £1.7bn and the sector now forms 38 per cent of transactions and 49 per cent of the overall value.