Success stories featuring small and medium-sized companies aren’t as common as they ought to be. They often go unheard, or struggle to gain the recognition they deserve.
Yet the Capital’s economy, and indeed the UK, owes much to their ambitions and achievements, especially those firms that are disrupting their markets with new products and services, investing for growth and scaling their presence.
What is even less well understood is the role that private equity can and does play in helping many of those firms unlock their potential and fulfil their ambitions, acting as a catalyst for growth.
It can be an effective means of achieving a change of ownership – enabling a founder to step back and a management team to step in, or a team to acquire the business from its parent company and drive it forward in their own vision.
For others, it’s about bringing a strategic investment partner on board – selling a minority shareholding in return for growth capital, whilst bringing additional external expertise on to their company board. It’s also used to fund an acquisition-led growth strategy, helping a team consolidate a market or build scale quickly – both at home and abroad.
Whatever the motivation, what we’ve seen from over 35 years of investing and 500 investments, is that private equity works best when it’s about a partnership between investor and management, one built on trust, a common vision and a shared ambition for market-leadership.
That’s what impressed us most when we first met Richard and the team at Iglu.com. Their track record was clear, having started and successfully scaled a business in a highly competitive market. Having already secured private equity funding earlier in their journey, the team also understood the difference the right partner could make.
But their drive to keep investing in the business – launching new products, moving into new markets – and their determination to fulfil its potential, was truly inspiring. One year in, and we’re just as excited today about the opportunities ahead.