Blackfinch Ventures, the venture capital arm of Blackfinch Group, is intending to declare its first dividend payment from the Blackfinch Spring Venture Capital Trust (VCT), payable in April 2024. The announcement comes as Blackfinch Ventures complete their most recent £1.3m round of investments made in December 2023, continuing their strategy to invested in a diverse range of high potential, early-stage tech companies across the UK, aligning with the national agenda to boost technological innovation.
Richard Cook, CEO, says: “I’m incredibly proud of the contribution Blackfinch is making to the UK economy through the investment and support which we provide to our VCT investee companies. Over the years, we have established a strong portfolio of high-growth firms which provide an industry-leading exposure to underlying revenue growth. It is fantastic that our VCT is now able to target dividend payments for 2024 and beyond as this now enables a wider range of investors to consider investing with Blackfinch.”
The VCT dividend milestone is underscored by data from the alternative investment platform Wealth Club, which provides evidence of the exceptional performance of Blackfinch Ventures’ portfolio. The firm stands out for having the most exposure to high-growth companies by annual revenue growth in UK VCTs. This recognition attests to Blackfinch Ventures’ skill in selecting and supporting companies with impressive growth trajectories, as 85% of its investments have experienced annual revenue growth of 25% or more.
Dr Reuben Wilcock, Head of Ventures at Blackfinch, reflects on their investment philosophy: “Our investment strategy is in step with the UK’s drive to nurture a dynamic early-stage tech ecosystem. We emphasise identifying and supporting early-stage businesses that showcase not only innovative technology but also sustainable and scalable growth, contributing to the UK’s technology sector and economy.”
In the run up to tax year end, Nicholas French, Chief Distribution Officer at Blackfinch, adds: “Understandably, advisers look to track record to find confidence in their recommendations to clients. The announcement of the VCT intention to make its first dividend payment is a game-changer for those seeking income paying VCTs. Not only does the Blackfinch VCT have many award-winning companies in its portfolio, they are also well diversified both geographically and by sector, giving advisers a strong reason to consider them within the holistic review of client investment objectives.”
The most recent round of investments provides follow-on funding to two existing VCT portfolio companies alongside an investment into new portfolio company, Quin. Quin, founded by two sisters, uses deep-learning of anonymised website traffic in real-time, to ethically predict user behaviours and serve relevant in-the-moment experiences that achieve stronger conversions. Their artificial intelligence system requires no code so can easily integrated with minimal technical expertise, demonstrating a significant reduction in campaign costs and a 30% increase in revenue.
Among the notable startups in the Blackfinch Spring VCT portfolio, and one of the firms to receive follow-on funding in the recent investment round, is Tended. This company’s wearable devices are specifically designed to increase safety in high-risk work environments like the rail industry. Tended’s commitment to workplace safety was internationally recognised when its product was featured in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2023 list. This recognition illustrates the type of impactful technological solutions Blackfinch aims to support through its investments.
Blackfinch Ventures’ investment strategy resonates with the Chancellor’s recent Mansion House reforms aimed at bolstering the UK’s technology and science sectors. Key among these initiatives is the £250 million Long-Term Investment for Technology and Science (LIFTS) program, part of a plan to channel up to £1 billion into UK tech companies from various funding sources.
Dr Wilcock concludes with a broader perspective on the impact of their investments: “Beyond the financial returns, VCTs play an important role in the UK’s economic fabric. They supply vital capital to emerging companies, fuelling not just their growth but also contributing to job creation and wider economic development. Our investments in these early-stage companies are part of our commitment to propelling the UK’s economic potential, promoting a culture of technological advancement and innovation that allows society to thrive.”