Guest article: Neil Inskip, Business Growth Fund
Neil Inskip heads up BGF’s Manchester office which covers the North West region.
He is involved in all aspects of the investment process from origination through to completion and supports companies to achieve their growth targets up to exit.
He has led over a dozen investments at BGF across a range of sectors, such as Mission Mars and European Braking Solutions , and currently sits on the board of several investee companies, including: Sentric Music, NSS Group and Hobs Group. We spoke to him about what BGF look for in a business and how they can help them develop and grow.
Q: BGF isn’t a typical investor – what would you say your point of difference is in the market?
Since launching in 2011, BGF has invested £1.9bn into more than 270 businesses, making us the most active growth investor in the world, according to the latest PitchBook Global League Tables.
We’ve invested more than £230m in businesses based right here in the North West. We provide long-term capital that management teams use to execute their plans and help them achieve their growth targets.
But I think it’s fair to say, we’re not your typical investor, and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of. We know that businesses want a supportive partner who can add value, which is why we exist.
We only ever take a minority stake in a business, which leaves the owner in control and management running the business. We also invest off our own balance sheet, which means we don’t pressure businesses or rush to exit; it should happen at a time that’s right for the company and we have the flexibility to provide the right capital structure for businesses we back in order for them to grow. We also have the ability to provide additional follow-on investment so portfolio companies can continue to take advantage of growth opportunities.
We focus on helping businesses to scale and it’s an outlook that has served us well since 2011, and we’re very proud of the relationships we’ve built with the businesses and management teams we’ve backed, as well as what they’ve gone on to achieve.
Q: What type of businesses do you look to invest in?
BGF looks to invest in companies with revenues between typically £5m-£100m, with initial investments between £2m and £10m and potential for further funding to support continued growth.
We are able to support a range of growing companies – early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy, but the businesses we back will have some characteristics in common. We back strong management teams with big ambitions and a plan of how they’re going to achieve them.
Businesses use our capital to make bold moves – whether strategic acquisitions or site roll-outs, increased investment in product development, sales and marketing, infrastructure or the purchase of significant new capital assets. Whatever the plan, we’ll be in it for the long term, with a deep pool of capital to support a company’s future development.
We also understand that companies need more than just money. Alongside our investment, we provide practical and strategic support directly through the BGF team, plus access to our networks. Our Talent Network provides links to non-executive directors with unrivalled experience and our growing portfolio now reaches across almost every sector and every corner of the UK. We aim to add real value beyond our investment.
Q: What should a business owner do if they’re looking for investment?
The first place to start by interrogating what you’re looking for as a business owner. It’s never too early to start the conversation with us even if the timing isn’t yet quite right for an investment. Set out vision of what you’d like to achieve and a clear plan. It’s also worth speaking to your advisers who already know your business.
Ask for insight from all of the company’s stakeholders to understand what they want to achieve which will give you a clearer picture of your business and funding needs before seeking investment.
If you’re interested in understanding more about BGF or the funding we provide, please contact Neil directly.
m: 07557 923212
t: 0161 744 0135