Martlet Capital operational business acquired by EMV Capital

13 May, 2024
Tony Quested
Cambridge funder Martlet Capital is under new management. EMV Capital, a VC investor specialising in high-growth DeepTech and Life Sciences companies has acquired Martlet Capital’s operational business and been appointed investment manager of Martlet Capital.
Robert Marshall. Courtesy – Martlet Capital.

EMV Capital will manage, on a discretionary basis, Martlet Capital’s c.£23.3 million portfolio of investments across 53 companies within the DeepTech and life sciences sectors.

EMV Capital and its parent company, NetScientific PLC, invested in the initial fundraising rounds of Martlet Capital in 2021. Having collaborated closely with Martlet Capital since then, EMV Capital recently identified the opportunity to expand the relationship by taking on the investment management role for Martlet Capital.

EMV Capital says it will rely on its active management strategy to maximise returns for the shareholders of Martlet Capital and further advance Martlet’s unique proposition, and prestigious status, within Cambridge’s dynamic tech ecosystem.

The transaction provides EMV Capital with an enlarged team of specialist, multi-disciplinary, venture capital experts in the DeepTech and life sciences sectors, covering a variety of activities including deal flow sourcing, portfolio management, corporate finance, fund management, value creation services and industry partnering skillsets.

It also provides EMV with an additional c.£23.3m of Funds Under Management, an increase of c.89 per cent on the £26.1m of capital under advisory that is currently managed by EMV Capital.

EMV Capital intends to leverage the Martlet brand by means of exploring investor appetite for the proposed launch of the following two new Martlet funds – each to be managed by EMV Capital if and when launched:

• Martlet Capital Fund II: a fund to build on Marlet Capital’s existing and proven investment policy (noting it is not anticipated that Martlet Capital itself will make material new investments); and

• Martlet Growth Fund: a fund intended to take up follow-on investment opportunities emerging from the Martlet portfolio and other investments.

In turn, Martlet’s team and portfolio gain access to EMV Capital’s active portfolio management strategy, its corporate finance team’s proven ability to develop unique investment strategies, drawing on its EIS fund and extensive network of private investors, family offices, institutions, and corporate VCs; as well as the Value Creation Services practice supporting portfolio company growth.

Dr Ilian Iliev, MD of EMV Capital, commented: “This transaction represents an important milestone for EMV Capital and the NetScientific PLC group, aligned with our objectives to become a leading deep tech and life sciences venture capital investor in the UK and Europe.

“Founder Robert Marshall and his team have created a respected brand within the world-class Cambridge high-tech investment cluster. This is a logical next step in the deepening relationship between our organisations following our initial investment in 2021.

“This important fund management mandate and acquisition of the Martlet business significantly increases the fee income and critical mass of our funds practice. We also gain ‘work in progress’ for the potential launch of two further funds under the Martlet brand and a supportive Martlet investor base.

“I thank Robert Marshall and the broader Martlet team for their collaborative approach in executing this carefully balanced transaction. Independently, EMV Capital has a long history in Cambridge, and I look forward to our work together to deliver returns for Martlet Capital shareholders and EMV Capital, and to further leverage and grow the Martlet brand.”

Robert Marshall, Founder and Chairman of Martlet Capital Ltd, added:“Since the demerger from the Marshall Group of Companies in 2021, Martlet Capital has created a credible brand in the Cambridge and increasingly national deep tech start up space.

“As well as providing seed and seed+ capital, The company offers an exceptional level of support to founders as they grow their companies, ranging from help in developing their unique and compelling business propositions to developing their all important talent base.

“Continuity of funding through multiple rounds and a drive to early stage revenue growth is increasingly important at the current time, and Martlet has developed a relationship with Dr Iliev and EMV which will ensure that, together, we can excel and give our portfolio companies the edge that they need to succeed.

“I am delighted with the outcome of the deal between Martlet capital and EMV NetScientific and convinced that the Martlet brand will grow and, combined, we can become even more meaningful to aspiring founders.”

Founded by Robert Marshall in 2011, Martlet Capital is an early-stage investor based in Cambridge, providing patient capital to IP-rich, DeepTech and life sciences B2B startups with high growth potential, including Paragraf, Nu Quantum, Xampla, Infinitopes and Cambridge GaN Devices.

Martlet Capital (and its predecessor entity) has invested in more than 65 startups since its launch in 2011. In 2021, Martlet successfully raised additional capital to scale its investment activity.

Over the past decade, Martlet has achieved several significant exits from its portfolio through trade sales to global technology companies and IPOs; including the ‘unicorn’ Abcam (IPO), Audio Analytic (sold to Meta), Cambridge CMOS Sensors (acquired by AMS), Arachnys (acquired by AML RightSource).

The team comprises experienced investors and entrepreneurs. In addition to capital, Martlet offers support, experience and a network of contacts.

EMV Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIM-quoted NetScientific plc.