Growth Intelligence has secured £1.5m of funding from Shard Credit Partners through its UK technology-focused venture debt fund. This marks the third investment made by Shard Credit Partners’ new fund, and the first since its successful first close which was announced in June 2022.
Growth Intelligence helps B2B marketers, who have struggled to accurately and completely define their audiences, run more efficient and creative digital-first campaigns. With the world’s richest data on SMEs, Growth Intelligence allows marketers at blue-chip, global clients including American Express and Vodafone, to run ABM at scale for the first time.
The Company has won numerous awards and has received backing from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. Growth Intelligence has been experiencing rapid growth over recent years and generated a 100% year-on-year revenue increase for 2021-2022. The funds raised will be used to support sales team expansion, product development and expansion into new markets planned for the coming year.
The investment is in line with Shard Credit Partners’ strategy to target borrowers with annual recurring revenues of at least £2.0 million, operating in the B2B SaaS and fintech sectors and benefiting from long term customer contracts. Its focus is to provide flexible venture loan capital in support of sales growth, through increased expenditure on marketing initiatives. Previous investments include PassFort, which generated a total gross IRR of 249.2% in just six months (1.8x multiple on invested capital) and Rezatec.
Venture debt is becoming increasingly popular with high growth technology companies globally in recent years. The asset class is highly developed in the United States, having positively tracked the strong growth in the venture equity market during the last two decades. The venture lending market is in its infancy in the UK and remains an area that is materially underserved, which has created an opportunity for innovative private credit managers to raise dedicated technology venture debt funds.
Market demand for venture debt in the UK is being driven on the back of very strong growth in the technology venture capital sector over the past decade, which now comprises approximately 13,000 post series A technology companies. This represents a significant addressable market opportunity for specialist UK technology venture debt funds, such as the one launched by Shard Credit Partners Limited.
William Chappel, Head of Venture Debt for Shard Credit Partners Limited, said, “We are very excited to provide financing support to Growth Intelligence. We’ve been looking to work with this business for some time now and we’re delighted to complete this investment. Growth Intelligence has an enormously exciting offering, and we can’t wait to work closer with Tom, James and the wider team as the business continues to grow. This is a great addition to the Shard Credit Partners UK Tech focused Venture Debt fund.”
Tom Gatten, CEO of Growth Intelligence commented, “Growth Intelligence’s goal is to cement its position as the only platform offering account based marketing at scale — across the U.S. and the U.K. The opportunity for businesses to acquire new customers digitally is growing post-covid, yet most marketing leaders struggle to confidently define their ICP and total addressable market, which leads to high digital ad spending, slow growth, and low conversions. We’re here to solve this problem and transform B2B marketing by enabling large enterprises and mid-sized companies to build, scale and launch account-based marketing programs at scale. This latest round of funding will help support Growth Intelligence to invest in our own commercial team and become a global account based marketing champion and are pleased to have received this venture debt from Shard Credit Partners.”
Alastair Brown, Chief Executive of Shard Credit Partners, commented, “Our investment in Growth Intelligence marks the third investment from our new venture debt strategy. The investment team, led by Will Chappel, has a strong pipeline of opportunities and we expect the pace of deployment to continue through the summer months, supporting positive fundraising momentum as we approach subsequent fund closes through the remainder of 2022.”
Shard Credit Partners Limited is currently in advanced discussions with several UK and international institutional investors with regard to participating in subsequent fund closes throughout summer 2022. The target fund size at final close is £75 million, with a hard cap at £100 million, by June 2023.
Shard Credit Partners Limited has a strong focus on ESG across all its private credit investments and has historically been a strong supporter of female entrepreneurs and firms with meaningful female leadership, ownership, and senior management. No less than 80% of its investee companies have female board representation and 60% have mixed sex equity ownership, a direct result of Shard Credit Partners Limited’s implementation of ESG covenants and ESG margin ratchets in its loan agreements and investment documentation as standard.
Legal advice to Shard Credit Partners was provided by Orrick LLP, led by Partner Scott Morrison and supported by Hridi Chowdhury.
About Shard Credit Partners Limited:
Shard Credit Partners Limited is an alternative investment fund manager focused on private credit strategies in the UK lower mid-market. Its funds seek to generate superior risk-adjusted returns from conservatively structured senior secured credit investments with equity upside. Fund strategies include SME direct lending and tech-focused venture debt.
Shard Credit Partners Limited is currently investing from its debut direct lending fund Shard Credit Partners Fund I, which held a first close in October 2017 at £90.2 million. Shard Credit Partners Limited plans to hold a first close on its second UK lower mid-market direct lending fund during Q4 2022.
Shard Credit Partners Limited invests in solid small to medium sized businesses with strong management teams, supporting them by providing transformative growth capital and event driven financing in support of innovation, growth, and expansion. The funds invest in businesses throughout the UK.
Recent investments include the venture debt financing for Rezatec Limited in August 2021, the refinancing and shareholder reorganisation of Midwest Mechanical and Electrical Services Ltd in August 2021, as well as the financing in support of the acquisition of The Technology Group by Gradwell Communications in March 2021. The SME direct lending fund also funded the MBI of JST Services Ltd in Scotland, the MBO and buy-and-build strategy of eQuality Solutions Ltd in the North-East of England, and the MBO of Chameleon Technology (UK) Ltd in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, each of which completed in December 2020.
In 2020, Shard Credit Partners Limited ranked eighth in the Debtwire UK Direct Lender league table published by Acuris. Shard Credit Partners Limited was recently awarded Alternative Finance Provider of the Year 2021 (North-East region) at the Insider Media Dealmakers Awards.
Shard Credit Partners Limited is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).
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