AS Capital launched
Anderson Strathern and Equity Gap in deals venture
Natural fit: Jock Millican and Bruce Farquhar
Scottish legal firm Anderson Strathern has launched an investment vehicle and joined angel syndicate Equity Gap to back Glasgow-headquartered energy sector instrumentation specialist Synaptec.
AS Capital, the new venture, plans further deals alongside Equity Gap, the Edinburgh-headquartered angel firm that has led £50 million of investments since being founded in 2010.
Bruce Farquhar, chairman of Anderson Strathern, said: “We are keen to promote ambitious high-growth companies and our involvement as an investor will lead to both the possibility of capital gains on exit while, just as importantly, enhancing our ability to advise on investment transactions for other companies.
“The energy and renewables sectors are areas of particular strength at Anderson Strathern and we’re excited about Synaptec’s market credentials, outlook and next phase of growth. We know the Equity Gap team well, have worked alongside them for a number of years and are really pleased to have formally joined the syndicate. We already have a number of other deals which we are actively considering.”
Jock Millican, director at Equity Gap and chairman of LINC Scotland, said: “As far as I am aware, there is no other law firm in Scotland investing in angel syndicate deals of this type and it is great to see a firm of lawyers being willing to promote high growth Scottish companies in this way. We see this as a natural fit for Equity Gap, our members and our portfolio.”
Synaptec recently secured second-round funding of £2.9m led by Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund, Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Strathclyde as the company plans to scale-up production, grow international sales and further develop its data analytics capability.
Synaptec counts a number of major utilities among its customer base and the company’s Founder and Managing Director Philip Orr has said that the investment reflects “the drive of the Scottish Government to make Scotland a global player in the energy sector.”
He added: “The commitment shown by all of our investors has been overwhelming and represents an exciting new phase of growth and development for Synaptec that will enable us to make a positive and lasting impact on the global energy transition.”
Anderson Strathern reported increased turnover to £22.8m for the year to 31 August 2018 [2017: £21.5m] while reporting profits up by 10%.
GeckoLabs secures £1.8m
An Edinburgh company whose software platform helps universities to engage and recruit students has secured £1.8m investment from Mercia Fund Managers, the Scottish Investment Bank’s Co-Investment Fund, and existing angel investors.
This latest funding round will allow GeckoLabs to more than double the size of its team and expand its operations in North America. It brings the total raised by the company to £3m.
Gecko’s student engagement platform allows universities to capture, manage and follow up with prospective students, and is used by more than 50% of the UK higher education market including leading institutions such as Cambridge, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Durham universities. The company also has almost 30 clients in the US and Canada.
Established in 2012 by Matt Lanham, who had previously run a digital agency, Gecko now has a 27-strong team in Edinburgh. The funding will allow Gecko to continue developing new products and open an office in New York to increase market share in North America. It plans to create 10 jobs in the UK and 28 in the US and Canada.
Funding for Machine Labs
Machine Labs, announced today £800,000 equity funding received from Techstart Ventures , the founders, angels investors with additional grant funding from Scottish Enterprise.
The seed funding will be used to recruit a team of eight based in offices opposite Edinburgh Castle.
Andrew Veitch, founder and CEO of Machine Labs, said: “For most of us database marketing is spam or junk mail. Machine Labs wants to use machine learning to make marketing messages relevant, so consumers get the right offers at the right time instead of being irritated by marketing they are not interested in.”
Dr Thomas Gambino, Machine Lab’s Data Scientist, who recently relocated from Spain to join the company, added: “We have fed millions of transactions into our machine learning algorithm and are already getting better results than any human could manage.”
Mr Veitch was previously a co-founder and chief marketing officer at Diet Chef.
“It’s great to have the chance to develop the software I always wished I had when I was spending £30 million on marketing at Diet Chef,” he said.