Technology was one of the early heroes of the pandemic, but how are businesses’ long-term digital strategies evolving? Jane Douglas finds out for the BVCA Journal.

In the space of a year, organisations have stopped talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and started living it. Where once emerging technologies such as cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) were part of long-term plans, they are now at the centre of investment strategies for competitive businesses.

“We’ve seen a rapid embrace of disruptive technologies, starting at the beginning of the pandemic and continuing throughout,” explains Paul Henninger, Head of Data-Driven Solutions at KPMG UK.

“Technologies like automation, relatively advanced AI, such as natural language analytics, machine vision and equally just the use of data in real-time decision-making.”

Organisations had…

The nature of infrastructure has changed, and so has the nature of investing in it. Writing for the BVCA, Christian Doherty looks at the opportunities and challenges inherent in sectors such as energy, transportation, telecoms and other innovative technologies.

“If it doesn’t move, then it’s infrastructure.” It’s been a while since that old cliché has been applicable to the infrastructure space. And while investors continue to be attracted to traditional infrastructure projects — principally energy generation and transport — the sector as a whole has undergone a transformation in recent years as a number of ‘mega trends’ have taken hold.

“If you look at things like energy, transportation, certainly telecoms, and to a lesser extent water, things are changing extremely fast,” explains Simon Gray, comanaging partner at Arcus Infrastructure Partners. “In part, that’s driven by policy, in part it’s…

The future consumer is going to look very different from the present one, says Tom James for the BVCA Journal, who explains why this creates a remarkable opportunity for venture capital.

Wearable tech, novel healthcare devices and services, greater concern for the Earth, and the desire for instant solutions to all manner of questions: these are just some of the issues which will shape the consumer of the future. As the BVCA Summit tackles some of these thorny big-picture questions, we take a look into our crystal ball to see what might be on the horizon.

The world of work is changing at an exponential rate. Indeed, back in 1999 it was predicted that by 2030 a majority of the population will be employed in jobs which didn’t exist at the…

Economic turbulence, increasing competition and tech disruption are all causing much furrowing of brows for mid-market fund managers, but there are plenty of great opportunities out there for the smart investor.

The macro-economic environment is likely to have a major impact on mid-market investing over the coming years. That was the view of delegates at the BVCA Summit in October and, as one panellist noted, it would be very reckless to assume there won’t be a stalling of growth, if not outright recession in the years ahead. Such sentiment is affecting deal decision-making.

Companies with a strong financial profile, with easy to understand models, are commanding very high valuations. For other investors, a secular (non-cyclical) growth story, complemented with inorganic growth opportunities, are most attractive in this environment.

Technology has lowered…

The relationship between investors and fund managers is absolutely crucial to the private equity and venture capital model. At the BVCA Summit, we explored how it might change in the years ahead.

The audience at the BVCA Summit were asked to vote on whether the current private equity and venture capital environment is more favourable to investors or fund managers (or Limited Partners (LPs) and General Partners (GPs) to use industry lingo).

Almost half (47%) voted in favour of LPs. This compared to 41% for GPs and 12% seeing the situation as equally balanced.

Yes, there were a few more GPs in the room than LPs (although institutional fund investors numbered over 100 on the day). …

On 10 October, the BVCA held its flagship event in London, with more than 800 delegates gathering for a day of insight and debate on what the future holds for private equity and venture capital.

The theme for this year’s BVCA Summit: ‘the next decade for private equity and venture capital’ would be, at the best of times, fairly ambitious. As the BVCA’s chair, Cheryl Potter, noted: “At a point when you can’t imagine what the next 10 days might hold, it is a challenge to look forward to the next 10 years.”

The point was echoed by EY’s Chief Economist Mark Gregory. Given his presentation was titled ‘What might the economy of 2029 look like?’, he said: “I’m not sure what’s going to happen at 20.29 this evening.”

But after a day of debating…

Consumer appetite for vegan products is taking a bite out of the US$1.4 trillion global meat market, but who are the start-ups innovating in the industry — and which venture firms are backing them? Will Monroe finds out for the BVCA Journal

The date is Thursday 3 January 2019 and a vegan sausage roll launched by bakery chain Greggs has become an internet sensation. Everyone from Piers Morgan to Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby takes to social media to air opinions on the new product, sparking mass demand and shortages at Greggs outlets across the UK.

The release of the vegan sausage roll — and the furore that accompanied it — arguably encapsulates the current state of global veganism. Consumer demand, fuelled by ethical, environmental and health considerations, has generated an explosion in popularity, widespread celebrity validation — be that through financial…

What are the ingredients needed to make a good investment director? How about a great one? In a new BVCA paper, David Mott, Chair of the BVCA Venture Capital Committee, explores the wide array of skills and attributes needed.

The relationship between VCs and founders is an interesting one. You need to be close, yet not native. You are helping to build the company, yet also represent your VC fund. During the journey of the investment, your values, your professionalism and your relationship with the founders will be tested many times.

To claim the soubriquet ‘good’ — and maybe even ‘great’ — is one that hopefully everyone working on the deal-side in the VC industry aspires to achieve. It goes beyond simply selecting the right deals and delivering a strong return for your firm and its investors.

To be…

As on-demand services have usurped traditional broadcasters, is there still room for new entrants or will media consolidation among tech giants and telecoms firms define our future viewing habits, asks Jules Gray for the BVCA Journal.

When American entrepreneurs Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded Netflix in 1997, it was little more than a mail order video and DVD service. Hastings says that a US$40 fine for returning the film Apollo 13 to his local Blockbuster rental store inspired him to set up a rival firm.

The idea was to harness the internet to deliver films to customers for a subscription, with no late-return fees. The Netflix founders’ goal was to take on the US$16 billion home video sales and rental industry — and Blockbuster itself. Twenty-two years later, Netflix has moved far beyond that ambition…

Government plans to give the NHS a digital overhaul will rely heavily on innovative start-ups, writes Joe Crewther for the BVCA Journal.

On 28 December 2018, as much of the UK recovered from the onslaught of unhealthy Christmas food and drink, Matt Hancock, the new Health and Social Care Secretary, announced grand plans to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system and bring it into the digital age. “Too often the IT used by GPs in the NHS — like other NHS technology — is out of date,” he said. “It frustrates staff and patients alike and doesn’t work well with other NHS systems. This must change.”

The minister went on to declare his love for the NHS but shared his ambition for turning…


The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association represents over 750 member firms, including more than 400 investment funds and institutional investors

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