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New entrant says plenty of cash around

Finance chief: ‘there is no funding gap’ for growth firms

Stuart McKnightA new entrant to the Scottish corporate finance sector claims there is ‘no funding gap’ in the market.

Stuart McKnight, whose company Ascendant Corporate Finance has just opened an office in Edinburgh, said the real issue is a ‘misalignment’ of funds.

Mr McKnight’s views run counter to those who believe that beyond early stage funding companies struggle to get backing at a later stage.

Speaking at EdinburghCity  Chambers to an audience of start-ups and investors, Mr McKnight said there was no gap but “an increasing mismatch” between seed investors and next stage backers.

Afterwards, he told Daily Business the inability to get funding was more likely down to the quality of the companies looking for it: “When companies complain of a funding gap it’s because they cannot get the funds they need. There is usually a good reason for that.”

Research by his company showed the appetite for deals across the UK continuing to grow. Although this served his company’s interests, he said: “It has been a long time since it has been this good.”

Three-quarters of the deals measured showed more than one investor was involved. “This is higher than normal and suggests there is no evidence of a bubble,” he said.

The research showed there had been a rise in the number of deals outside the months when the are often done for tax purposes.

Mr McKnight said Ascendant, formed in 2003 in London, had looked to Manchester as its next step for expansion but had chosen Edinburgh because of the opportunities it had identified for growth.

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