The firm saw the completion of seven northern-based investments throughout the year across a wide range of sectors.
This includes the investment in online fashion e-tailer In The Style in May. The Manchester-based business has grown rapidly in recent years, doubling sales to £15m in the year prior to the investment. This includes collaborations with celebrities including E4’s Binky Felstead, MTV’s Charlotte Crosby and ITV’s Billie Faiers, as well as UK fashion blogger Sarah Ashcroft.
Livingbridge also completed north west investments in Manchester-based AI software provider Mobysoft and Macclesfield-headquartered Superbike Factory, the independent supplier of used motorcycles and leading motorcycle finance broker.
Yorkshire has proven fertile ground for Livingbridge, resulting in a further two transactions for the firm. In February, the business completed an investment into Harrogate-based Stowe Family Law, to support the roll out of an anticipated further 30 offices across the country in the next five years. To date four new offices have opened since investment. Additionally, Livingbridge completed an investment in Giacom, a specialist cloud services marketplace for SMEs based in Hull in November 2017.
Livingbridge also reinvested alongside Charme Capital Partners in Cumbria-based special educational needs care company Witherslack Group. Following Livingbridge’s initial investment in 2011, Witherslack has opened a further seven schools and learning centres, with pupil numbers doubling to over 630.
Livingbridge has continued to invest in its team in the north as it expands its deal pipeline. The firm has added investment managers Charlie Ross and Matthew Jacobs to the Manchester team over the course of 2017.
Nationally Livingbridge is looking to invest c. £250m in 2018, so has significant dry powder available for new deals this year, as well as actively seeking acquisitions across its portfolio of 41 companies.
Pete Clarke at Livingbridge, said:
“2017 was another successful year for our northern team, working alongside extremely talented management teams and completing some exciting investments. We have always recognised that the north is a crucial area of focus for an investor looking to back fast-growth entrepreneurial businesses.
"Our ever-expanding pipeline of deals is a testament to the brilliant work and passion of the corporate finance community in the region, as well as the innovative management teams. We are really positive about prospects in 2018 and look forward to supporting more ambitious businesses across the north this year.”