Foresight toasts £50m investment in East of England since 2019

26 Mar, 2024
Foresight Group, a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager, reveals that its Cambridge office has significantly boosted the SME ecosystem in the East of England since the business opened in 2019.
Matt McLoughlin, Director, Foresight Group

The success has been underpinned by the simultaneous launch of Foresight’s East of England Fund, cornerstoned by the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund and which targets long term value growth for investors while creating a permanent pool of capital to fund smaller businesses in the region and beyond.

To date, it has invested over £43 million in nine companies. The fund has typically invested £1-10 million in established companies with a view to helping management teams deliver their growth ambitions.

In tandem, other growth and venture funds managed by Foresight have supported the journeys of five Cambridge-based earlier stage technology companies with around £7 million worth of investment.

The East of England is home to more than 20,000 small established companies. While it has historically received venture capital funding for early-stage businesses, prior to Foresight’s East of England Fund and Cambridge office launch, it was less well served by more generalist private equity to support established, smaller companies.

Foresight’s local office has been pivotal in addressing this funding gap. Notable deals include a £5.75 million investment in Cambrionix Limited, a designer of hardware and software solutions for the global mobile device management market. Cambrionix has long-standing relationships with leading global technology companies and plays a key role in the current market trend towards shared mobile devices.

An estimated five million devices worldwide are connected to Cambrionix hardware at any one time. Foresight’s 2023 investment will support Cambrionix’s strategy of enabling improved mass deployment of mobile devices.

Elsewhere, Foresight’s investment also allowed shareholders in firms in other sectors based in areas such as Suffolk or Essex to raise value from their businesses. These include Beckett, a Bury St Edmunds financial planning firm that supports private clients and companies with independent financial and employee benefits advice.

Foresight’s investment enabled Bob Beckett, the founder and Chairman of Becketts, to retire and has supported the next phase of development and growth of the company under the leadership of the Managing Director, Ian White.

Critical to Foresight’s success in deals for companies such as Cambrionix and Beckett has been its close liaison with the regional advisory community, forging a supply chain of expert professionals across the East of England.

In total, Foresight’s investments have supported over 700 jobs across the East of England. Alongside job creation, for each company it invests in Foresight instigates an ESG strategy that improves governance and helps businesses to enhance their sustainability credentials.

In the last 12 months, Foresight has also recruited two new members to its Cambridge investment team in reflection of its commitment to the region. Most recently, Samir Rea has joined as an Investment Manager.

Matt McLoughlin, Director, Foresight, said: “Our Cambridge office has been instrumental in stimulating economic activity across the East of England and it’s a source of real pride to look back at what we’ve achieved over the last four years.

“Our local investments span the whole region from Cambridge to Peterborough and across Suffolk and Essex. Likewise, there’s been a great variation in the market sectors we’re supporting.

“The East of England has a well-known strong technology sector but we’re also working with some very exciting companies in manufacturing, business services, healthcare and financial services.

“Our East of England Fund and Cambridge office have so far existed across a turbulent backdrop of economic and geopolitical upheaval. However, we have persisted in our mission statement of supporting the region all the way through the economic cycle, working with SMEs wherever they are on their funding journey.

“In 2024 and beyond, we plan to deliver more investment deals that will help firms achieve their potential. We’ve achieved a lot in the past four years, but the exciting news for the East of England is we’re only getting started.”