Private equity is medium to long-term finance available to companies looking for the capital and experience to deliver sustainable growth. Private equity investors such as Livingbridge take an equity stake in your business, providing you with capital for investment. Private equity investors usually bring with them different expertise, experience and network to help you to achieve your business goals. Find out more about how we help here.
Private equity funding can be an amazing way to grow your company – and we only invest in companies where we believe we can help them to fulfil their potential – but it’s a very important decision for both you and your business.
Think about what you need to really move your business forward. Are you at a stage where you need new investment to support organic growth or an acquisition strategy? What else could an investor provide that would be valuable – is it experience of working with similar businesses, specific situational expertise, or introductions to new networks and customer bases?
At Livingbridge, we’re focused on leveraging the experience and expertise we’ve built up over the past 20 years of investing in other high-growth businesses. We don’t want to intrude or take over; we want you to trust us to help you build the best business.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Along the way, we’ll ask you some difficult questions and challenge you to think about your business in new ways. Our experience has taught us that the greatest value is rarely to be found in taking the easiest option.
Still, the last thing we want to do is waste your time with onerous new reporting requirements or endless meetings. Our role isn’t to take control, it’s to equip you to best achieve everything your business is capable of. Our team has worked with many other growing businesses contemplating the same sorts of opportunities and challenges that lie ahead of you. It’s hard to place a value on the lessons learned from those experiences, whether it’s how to move into new markets or how to motivate your board; a new perspective is often key.
If that sounds potentially interesting, come and talk to us. We’ll be open and honest with you from the start. Get in touch to find out more.
We’re ready to back your business and that covers a range of different deal types, depending on the position you’re in and the help you need. Some of the most common situations are:
Growth capital: If you’re looking for funding to grow and expand your existing business, we can invest growth capital to accelerate your plans. As well as the funding, we can make sure the expertise, network and tools you have access to are best positioned to make sure you can deliver that growth at pace.
Management buy out: If a management team is looking to purchase a significant shareholding in the business they manage, we can back a management buy–out (MBO) to support this.
Find out more about buying the business you manage here.
In 2013, we backed an MBO at YSC, a global leadership consultancy, enabling the management team to deliver on its global expansion plans. At the time of exit, Liz Jones said:
“We are incredibly proud of what Robert and his team at YSC have achieved throughout our investment. The business has continued to deliver on its global growth ambitions, whilst staying true to its mission of delivering market-leading leadership insight and strategy solutions for its international clients. We feel privileged to have been part of the journey and wish them all the very best for the future.”
Replacement capital: If you have founded a business, there may come a time when you want to sell a stake while remaining at the company to continue its journey. Replacement capital, where you retain valuable equity whilst we invest in a stake, allows you to do this. We’ll be on hand to help you grow further and faster: that doesn’t mean we’ll take over – we’ll share what we think rather than telling you what to do.
Secondary buyout: If your business has an existing private equity backer that is now looking to sell its stake, we can invest in a secondary buyout. For example, we invested in rhubarb in 2016 following four years of investment from another private equity firm. Since then, we’ve supported this exciting food and drinks operator to launch new venues and open into new international markets.
Acquisition capital: We can provide acquisition capital to finance a business’s buy and build strategy, supported by on hand expertise through our dedicated M&A team. This team helps our investees accelerate acquisitive growth, from identifying targets to executing the deal and integrating the business. To take just one example, we’ve helped our investee M247 make a series of transformative acquisitions that has rapidly increased its customer base and helped it become the UK’s fastest growing connectivity and internet infrastructure provider.
Minority stakes: Our focus is on building relationships with management teams and working together on our shared ambition. That relationship-focused approach means we can be fairly flexible about whether we take a minority or majority stake.
We also have a dedicated Livingbridge True Minority fund that takes equity stakes of between 5% and 25% in successful companies that are looking for a different approach to private equity investment. Find out more here.
To find out more about types of deals have a look at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association website.
We’ve backed more than 150 companies over the past 20 years, focusing on the four sectors where we have extensive experience and deep expertise. We’ve learned from every single one of those investments, so while we can’t predict what will happen in the future in our specialist sectors, we know how to manage for uncertainty so that you can make bolder decisions. Our four sectors are:
Technology: We’ve been investing in the disruptive power of technology for over two decades. We’ve built our expertise through each new wave of the technology market. Find out more about our Technology experience.
Services: We love building relationships with innovative services companies harnessing technology to transform their markets. Find out more about our services experience.
Healthcare & education: We’re passionate about a sector that offers life-changing products and services to its customers. Find out more about our healthcare & education experience.
Consumer: We believe technology and data will change the consumer landscape completely and we’re already supporting many companies as they look to meet that challenge. Find out more about our consumer experience.
We invest between £5m and £100m in fast-growing companies with an enterprise value of up to £300m. However, as we invest through three different funds, we don’t have just one ‘sweet spot’:
- Our Enterprise fund invests in businesses with an enterprise value of up to £50m
- Our Mid-market fund invests in businesses with an enterprise value of up to £300m
- Our True Minority fund invests in profitable businesses, taking a minority stake of between 5% and 25%
In practice, whichever fund is suitable for your business, you’ll be working with the same team of Livingbridge experts. We work collectively across a single platform to guide our portfolio companies together, whatever their size.
We make primary investments in the UK, mainland Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, we support our investee companies in making acquisitions across the globe and have an office in Boston to support expansion and M&A in the US. We believe there are no boundaries to your ambition and our world class team has the expertise to help you succeed at a global level.
As entrepreneurs and business owners, you’re on a constant journey to make your company the best it can be. We see our role as providing a unique perspective to help guide that journey. We won’t have the answer to every question, but our 20 years of experience will help you work out which questions to ask.
Above all, we believe in building close relationships with the management teams we back. You can speak to any of our investees, they’ll tell you it’s not always easy but that we deliver what we say we will. We will challenge you to build the best, but not without the support to deliver it.