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Shard Credit Partners Direct Lending Fund I posts second exit with GadCap Debt Repayment

(Photo shows key senior management Paul Seccombe (left) and Michael Baker (right))

 

GadCap Technical Solutions Ltd (“GadCap”) has completed its final debt repayment to Shard Credit Partners Direct Lending Fund I, five years after completing its debt-funded primary MBO in February 2019.

GadCap was established through the spin out of the business and assets of the power generation and aerospace solutions division of a multinational engineering conglomerate in the North East of England.

The direct lending investment by Shard Credit Partners was the first of several primary non-sponsored MBOs financed from its inaugural UK lower mid-market direct lending fund.

Despite encountering numerous macroeconomic challenges throughout its first five years as an independent business, GadCap never missed an interest payment and ensured that it repaid the maximum amount of debt possible each year from surplus cash generated from operations.

 

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners commented:

“The MBO of GadCap is a model for uncomplicated private credit investing in the UK lower mid-market.  The senior management team are now in the enviable position of owning a significant majority of the ordinary shares in a highly cash generative business with zero debt outstanding.  As a minority shareholder alongside Paul and Michael we look forward to the next stage of our exciting journey together”.

Michael Baker said:

“We will be eternally grateful to Shard Credit Partners for providing us initially with the funds to secure the MBO, but also for their continued belief in the team and the support given over these past five years in helping us realise and achieve our goals.”

Paul Seccombe added:

“We are immensely proud, having come through a couple of uncertain economic years to have successfully paid off the facility loan after five years as we set out in our business plan when forming the company.  We are now in position to review our strategy and provide a platform for the future using Shard as our credit partner as we continue our venture.”

 

Continue reading “Shard Credit Partners Direct Lending Fund I posts second exit with GadCap Debt Repayment”

Shard Credit Partners invests £1.6 million in Location Sciences Group PLC to support Sorted Group Holdings Limited acquisition and AIM listing.

Shard Credit Partners has completed a cash equity investment of £1.6 million from its Venture Debt Fund I in support of the acquisition of Sorted Holdings Limited by Location Sciences Group PLC and listing on AIM.

The newly enlarged group will trade on AIM as Sorted Group Holdings PLC (SORT).

 

The transaction provides the enlarged group with the investment necessary to continue implementing its business strategy and serving its corporate and enterprise retail customers, which include M&S, Boohoo and Asda. It will enable Sorted to continue its mission to bring ecommerce retailers of all sizes confidence in every delivery, every time.

Shard Credit Partners provided Sorted Holdings Limited with a £3.0 million senior secured venture debt facility in September 2022. Since then, the private credit investment firm has continued to provide investment capital in support of a successful organic growth strategy led by CEO Carmen Carey.

Carmen Carey, CEO of Sorted commented:

“Shard Credit Partners has stepped up once again and proven to be a reliable and trusted financial partner. Their latest equity investment in support of our AIM listing demonstrates a strong commitment to our continued growth story.”

Alastair Brown, CEO and Founder of Shard Credit Partners commented:

“we are delighted to be supporting Carmen and her team as Sorted embarks upon the next exciting phase of its journey as an AIM listed company. We hope this IPO heralds a turning point for the UK’s homegrown technology sector”.

Simon Wilkinson, Petar Cvetkovic and Dr Nigel Burton join Sorted’s board, with Mahmud Kamani and Richard Hughes also investing in the group.

Wilkinson is a highly experienced software executive and entrepreneur, having held senior leadership positions in a number of public and private companies throughout his career. Simon is investing in the group, alongside Mahmud Kamani, the founder of Boohoo Group, and Richard Hughes, the founder of Zeus Capital.

Additionally, Petar Cvetkovic and Dr Nigel Burton will join the Sorted board as Non-Executive Directors. Cvetkovic is Founder & Chairman of Welford Investments and was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of DX (Group) Plc and Target Express, and Dr Burton is currently a Non-Executive Director of BlackRock Throgmorton Investment Trust PLC, DeepVerge PLC, eEnergy Group PLC, Mobile

Streams PLC and Microsaic Systems PLC. Mahmoud Warriah, the CFO for the enlarged group, will join Carmen Carey, CEO of Sorted Group Holdings PLC, as Executive Director.

Founded more than a decade ago and recognised as one of the fastest growing companies in Europe by the Financial Times, Sorted delivers transformational tech on a global scale. Trusted by leading retailers – such as ASOS and Asda – Sorted helps brands to make five-star delivery experiences their superpower.

Shard Credit Partners was advised by Scott Morrison, Partner at Orrick LLP and Simon Whiteside, Tax Partner at Ryecroft Glenton and Nicoletta Papademetris, Matt Barr and David Tran at BDO LLP.

Continue reading “Shard Credit Partners invests £1.6 million in Location Sciences Group PLC to support Sorted Group Holdings Limited acquisition and AIM listing.”

JST Services (Scotland) Ltd completes acquisition of pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited, Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland.

Roundwood timber being loaded onto a cargo ship at Fishnish Pier, Isle of Mull.

 

Shard Credit Partners’ investee company JST Services (Scotland) Ltd (“JST”) has acquired the pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited (“TSL”), located on the Isle of Mull off the West Coast of Scotland. This strategic acquisition extends JST’s operations in the Scottish timber transportation and logistics industry. Approximately 50,000 tonnes of roundwood logs are loaded onto cargo ships at Fishnish pier each year, to be transported across the open sea to processing centres on the UK mainland.

JST is a unique provider of mobile port logistics and materials handling and transportation services at ports around the UK and Ireland. From its base in Ayrshire, South West Scotland, JST operates a fleet of mobile cranes, timber haulage vehicles, timber handling vehicles, and mobile port handling equipment. Much of its equipment has been developed specially with its clients and equipment manufacturers to undertake complex materials handling tasks, creating a unique IP and patent base.

TSL has operated Fishnish pier on an exclusive basis on the Isle of Mull since its construction in 2014 on behalf of the Scottish Forestry Commission (Forest and Land Scotland) which manages 470,000 hectares of Scotland’s forests and woodlands. TSL’s fleet of HGV’s haul around 50,000 tonnes of timber per year from the surrounding Mull forests to the pier, where it is loaded directly onto cargo ships for transport to timber processing facilities. This operation provides valuable economic activity in a sparsely populated area of the country, in addition to providing an essential service in the maintenance of the ecological supply-chain of the island.

The Fishnish pier activities on Mull are viewed as being particularly attractive to JST, not only from an economic perspective, but also from a strategic perspective. The integration of the Fishnish pier operation into the wider JST Floating Piers division strengthens its network and offering to customer engaged in sustaining the Scottish commercial forestry industry.

Richard Jennings, managing director of JST said:

“This strategic bolt on acquisition to JST’s Floating Piers division in Scotland will enable us to further expand our offering to key customers, especially the Scottish Forestry Commission”.

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, comments:

“this acquisition is strongly accretive and will help to accelerate JST’s expansion in the Highlands and Islands, complimenting recent strong organic growth achieved throughout the UK and Ireland since our investment in the business three years ago”.

Legal advice to JST was provided by Gateley Legal, led by Oliver Harker. Financial DD was provided by Azets, led by Graham Cunning and Joseph Sheridan.

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to become a leading provider of capital to entrepreneur and management-owned high growth businesses and private equity-owned companies focused on achieving transformational growth and expansion in the UK regions.  During the past five years, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £150.0 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions throughout the UK regions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.

Continue reading “JST Services (Scotland) Ltd completes acquisition of pier and haulage division of TSL Contractors Limited, Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland.”

Veremark extends Series A with $4m from Shard Credit Partners and acquires 2 companies in ANZ

The global Pre-employment screening service will continue to expand its geographic presence across Europe & Apac as well as acquire more businesses

London, 9 May 2023 Veremark, the global web3.0 pre-employment screening and verified career credentials firm, has raised a further $4m in debt funding led by a new investor, Shard Credit Partners, a specialist lender to the Fintech sector.

This comes just 6 months after its initial $8.5m series A round led by Stage2 Capital and participated in by Samaipata, ACF Investors and Triplepoint and brings the company’s total funding raised to date to $16.3m including early seed and angel investment

Veremark who offers more than 40 kinds of credential checks in 150 countries has seen its client base double since the close of its Series A and now has over 1300+ clients.  The growth in the client base has predominantly been due to the increased ease and simplicity of the platform’s ability to get clients onboarded and help them manage a growing need for international checks.

In addition to furthering its organic growth strategy, Veremark has also acquired Employrite Pty and Employrite Ltd in Australia and New Zealand, strengthening the group’s capabilities across APAC.

As one of APAC’s longest standing pre-employment screening agencies, Employrite brings with it a wealth of industry experience and blue chip client base.  The acquisition encompassed both the Australia and New Zealand books of businesses and IP.

Veremark continues to operates as a globally distributed team with core hubs in the UK, USA, Australia, Singapore, India, and the Philippines, with over 100+ team members servicing clients 24/7.

Daniel Callaghan, CEO of Veremark, said: “We are delighted to bring Shard Credit Partners with us on the journey of transforming how companies ensure the appropriate screening and continued compliance of their employees.  Our mission remains to help the world trust faster and with both Shard and Employrite onboard now we can bring this to reality, not only in our key markets of the UK growth sector, but also across the broader ANZ region.”

Alastair Brown, CEO and Founder of Shard Credit Partners said, “we are delighted to have recently completed this innovative venture debt investment in Veremark to facilitate the geographical expansion into Australia and New Zealand through these two exciting acquisitions. This transaction is in our sweet spot of investing in UK tech-focused SMEs to help accelerate growth and jobs creation.”

Whilst David Birchall founder and Katrina co-founder of Employrite shared, “The marrying of Employrite and Veremark is a great union.  With our market knowledge and presence supported by their state of the art technology and global reach means that we can continue to deliver more for our clients.  We are excited by what the future holds.”

The pre-employment screening market is estimated at $16bn[1] annually, with strong continued global growth expected.  With more than two million screening checks now completed by the Veremark group, the company has a wealth of data to drive further automation and insights as well as continue to pioneer it’s innovative blockchain based credentials offering.


About Veremark: Veremark is a global background screening service that works with companies to run checks on prospective employees, business partners, LPs and founders.  The company operates globally with regional offices across APAC, UK, EU and USA. Since launch in 2019, the company has served hundreds of the world’s top venture backed companies and multinationals to implement better people compliance practices and works directly with Heads of Talent Acquisition to help them improve speed and overall hiring experience. To find out more, please visit www.veremark.com

About Shard Credit Partners: Shard Credit Partners 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, tech-focused venture debt and global trade finance.  Assets under management currently total circa £200 million. Investors include UK governmental organisations and public and private pension funds in the UK, Europe and Asia.  Shard Credit Partners Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA.

About Stage 2 Capital:  The first go-to-market venture capital firm, Stage 2 Capital, combines capital and GTM execution expertise, leveraging its elite LP base of 300+ senior executives from unicorns and Fortune 500 firms to help portfolio companies scale revenue and accelerate growth. Stage 2 Capital invests globally in earlier-stage B2B software companies. To find out more, please visit https://www.stage2.capital

About Samaipata: Samaipata is a pan-European venture capital fund investing in digital platforms with network effects at the early stage across Europe. With €150m under management, they focus on backing early stage founders in the UK, France, Germany and Southern Europe. To find out more, please visit https://samaipata.vc/

About ACF Investors: Launched in 2011, ACF Investors (formerly the Angel CoFund) is a privately managed and commercially focused venture capital fund that works alongside sector smart business angels to invest in high potential SMEs across the UK, directly providing funding to support exceptional businesses.

To date ACF Investors has supported 100 companies, including such names as Ebury, Gousto, Creo Medical and Form3, providing more than £50 million in direct investment alongside more than £300 million from business angels and other investors, making it one of the most active early-stage investors in the country. To find out more, please visit www.acfinvestors.com

About Triple Point Ventures: Triple Point Ventures is the venture arm of Triple Point, a purpose-driven investment manager with £2.5bn AUM, creating investment opportunities to help address society’s biggest challenges. Find out more at www.triplepoint.vc

[1] https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1210677/000119312521177004/d147929ds1.htm

Shard Credit Partners provides additional funding in support of MAPD’s acquisition of a majority stake in Bermans.

Shard Credit Partners has provided additional senior debt facilities to The MAPD Group (“MAPD”) in support of its acquisition of a majority shareholding in Bermans (2012) Limited (“Bermans”), a North-West based commercial law firm specialising in invoice and asset finance.

This is the largest acquisition by MAPD to date, as it seeks to consolidate the highly fragmented legal services sector across the UK market.  This brings total financing provided by Shard Credit Partners to MAPD in support of its buy and build acquisition strategy to £13.2 million, since March 2020.

Bermans is a highly regarded commercial law firm specialising in asset finance and invoice finance legal services.  The business employs 72 staff and operates from two offices located in Manchester and Liverpool.  The acquisition of Bermans also bolsters MAPD’s property, corporate law and litigation legal services throughout the north-west of England.  The acquisition adds significant value to MAPD as the group continues to execute its strategy of organic and acquisitive growth.

MAPD stands for ‘Making a Positive Difference’.  It is building a group of successful law firms, propelled by a single shared purpose; Making a Positive Difference.  This ethos fuels business performance, motivates people, leads MAPD to deliver high quality work for their clients and roots firms more deeply in the communities, focusing on sustainable growth.

MAPD acquired the Jackson Lees Group (comprising Jackson Lees and Broudie Jackson Canter) in March 2020, and Myers and Co., in 2021.  The business is looking to invest in aligned businesses within the legal sector via a nationwide acquisition strategy.

Brian Cullen, CEO of MAPD said: “We’re really pleased that Shard Credit Partners shares our vision.  Our approach is based on acquiring strong regional law firms and giving them the rocket fuel they need to take them to the next level. We say ‘powered by MAPD’, our approach is to make something that’s already good, great.

“We did a lot of research and learning around different models prior to settling on the approach we now have.  Once we decided that MAPD is a movement, not a business, it became much clearer.  We are serious about Making a Positive Difference. It is so fundamental to our success, it became our name.

“Our approach is such that we don’t come in and do things to people we come in and do things with people. The strength of the law firms we are buying comes from the brand equity and the people.”

Alastair Brown, CEO at Shard Credit Partners, commented: “The acquisition of Bermans marks a substantial leap forward for MAPD’s proven strategy of growth through acquisition, as it seeks to become a major player in the UK’s fragmented legal services market.  We share Brian and Joanna’s vision for growth and look forward to working with them as they continue to expand the platform into other regions of the UK through further acquisitions”.

Legal advice to MAPD was provided by O’Connors, led by David Malone, Natasha Lackner and Craig Geraghty.  Strategic M&A advice was provided by Dow Schofield Watts, led by James Curtis and Connor Monaghan.  Legal advice to Shard Credit Partners was provided by Gateley Legal.

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to become a leading provider of flexible and patient capital to entrepreneur and management-owned companies located throughout the UK, with a strong focus on driving transformational growth and jobs creation.  Since 2017, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £150 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.

 


 

About Shard Credit Partners:

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.

Assets under management currently total circa £200 million, allocated between two investment strategies.  Investors include UK governmental organisations and public and private pension funds in the UK and Europe and Asia.

Shard Credit Partners is currently fundraising for its second vintage direct lending fund, which is expected to hold a first close during the first half of 2023.

Shard Credit Partners has a strong ESG focus, with a particular focus on backing businesses with demonstrable board diversity and ownership.  Across both investment strategies, 90% of Shard Credit Partners’ borrowers have at least one woman on the board and around two thirds have mixed sex ownership.  Shard Credit Partners was an early adopter of ESG covenants and ESG margin ratchets and these instruments are now standard in all its loan agreements.

Shard Credit Partners Limited is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).

Contact details:

Newgate Communications

 

Tel: Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@newgatecomms.com

Shard Credit Partners Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com

 

Shard Credit Partners provides loan funding in support of female-led MBO of NAC Group.

Shard Credit Partners has provided committed senior debt financing in support of a predominantly female-led management buy-out of independent training provider NAC Group, incorporating NA College, located in Washington, Tyne & Wear, North-east UK.  NAC Group is targeting expanding its vocational, industry focused training following the investment.

The provision of the loan funding from Shard Credit Partners also represents its growing support for the education sector with this latest investment aimed at providing greater opportunities for young people to establish careers in the engineering and automotive sectors, in the North-east in particular.

Founded by Paul and Wendy Robson, the Washington-based training company offers a suite of courses ranging from school engagement activities through to highly respected apprenticeships and post-19 skills programmes.

Originally established to support apprenticeships and skills development for the advanced manufacturing automotive sector, NA College now works with a wide range of employers with skills training in areas such as Business Improvement, Lean Manufacturing, Engineering, Supply Chain, Warehousing and Management.

From 2020 NA College also became a partner of the North East Institute of Technology (IoT), a collaboration between education colleges, universities, and leading employers to strengthen the Higher Technical Education offering in the region.  The IoT training offer is shaped to satisfy employers emerging skills demand in digital, electrification and sustainability and business improvement to train future leaders to support the transition to a Net-zero economy.

Currently holding a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, NA College also works in partnership with New College Durham, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland College and provides services through the Department for Education (DfE).

The MBO has been led by four members of the college’s senior management team.  Lisa Snaith has taken the role of Chief Finance and Executive Officer, Margherita Pasquariello, Chief Strategy and Executive Officer, Steve Pallas, Operations Director, and Lindsey Vickerson, Head of HR and ESG.   Founder Paul Robson will remain with the company as Chairman.

Corporate finance advice was provided to management and Shard Credit Partners by Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance, led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance Carl Swansbury, CF Director Rhiannon Nightingale and CF Senior Manager Connor McBride.

Legal advice to Shard Credit Partners was provided by Andrew Madden, Alison Davidson-Cox and Andrew Cowan from Gateley Plc, whilst the management team was advised by Paul Christian, Imogen Holland and Nicole Axon of Ward Hadaway.  Financial due diligence was undertaken on behalf of Shard Credit Partners by RMT, led by Michael Cantwell and Ayden De Beer.

Paul and Wendy Robson received corporate finance advice from TIG Corporate Finance, led by Barry Gill, with legal advice from Mark Lazenby, partner at commercial law firm Square One Law.

Lisa Snaith said: “The demand for high quality vocational training is increasing, both from young people who recognise apprenticeships as a worthy route to a career, and from employers that are utilising our training to improve productivity and remain competitive.

“NA College has established a superb reputation in the manufacturing and engineering markets, particularly automotive and we are very proud to be able to build upon the outstanding achievements of the company under the direction of Paul and Wendy as owners of the business, working closely with Shard Credit Partners.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, said: “For the economy to succeed it is vital that the UK fills the skills gaps that exist in key industries with the support of high-quality training providers such as NA College.”

“We’re also delighted to be supporting, what is unfortunately still quite rare, a predominantly female-led management buy-out team.  With our financial support, we are keen to see the college enhance its provision of courses and training opportunities to meet the evolving need of businesses in the UK.”

Carl Swansbury, Partner and Head of Corporate Finance at RG Corporate Finance said: “Shard Credit Partners has identified the opportunity to support the new directors in their ambitions for the college to play a greater role in vocational training in the North East. Private training providers such as NA College are a key contributor to meeting the skills requirements of the UK and in particular critical industries such as advanced manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the management team and Shard Credit Partners continue to grow and develop NA College over the coming months and years.”

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to be the UK’s leading provider of flexible and patient capital to entrepreneur and management-owned companies located throughout the UK, with a strong focus on driving transformational growth and job creation.  Since 2017, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £150 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.

 


 

About Shard Credit Partners:

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.

Assets under management currently total circa £200 million, allocated between two investment strategies.  Investors include UK governmental organisations and public and private pension funds in the UK and Europe and Asia.

Shard Credit Partners is currently fundraising for its second vintage direct lending fund, which is expected to hold a first close during 2023.

Shard Credit Partners has a strong ESG focus, with a particular focus on backing businesses with demonstrable board diversity and ownership.  Across both investment strategies, 90% of Shard Credit Partners’ borrowers have at least one woman on the board and around two thirds have mixed sex ownership.  Shard Credit Partners was an early adopter of ESG covenants and ESG margin ratchets and these instruments are now standard in all its loan agreements.

Shard Credit Partners Limited is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).

Contact details:

Newgate Communications

 

Tel: Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@newgatecomms.com

Shard Credit Partners Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com

 

Shard Credit Partners completes fourth venture debt investment with £3.0 million loan to Sorted.

Shard Credit Partners has completed its fourth investment from its landmark UK technology focused venture debt fund. Sorted has secured £3.0 million of loan funding to support the growth and expansion of the business across existing and new markets.

Sorted is a Manchester-based software business that supports retailers in providing exceptional delivery experiences and analysing post-purchase performance. It empowers customers to track deliveries and returns or exchange parcels effortlessly. The company has grown rapidly in recent years and now provides its services to a wide range of leading UK retailers, such as ASOS, M&S, Dunelm and ASDA.

Shard Credit Partners held the first close of its inaugural venture debt fund in June 2022.  Several high-profile institutional investors are expected to commit to the fund in the coming months. The firm is targeting a final close at £75 million by Q2 2023, with a hard cap of £100 million.

William Chappel, Head of Venture Debt at Shard Credit Partners, said; “we are delighted to be providing finance to support Sorted. We have been tracking this name since 2018 and have been hugely impressed by how the business has flourished since that time. We can’t wait to work closer with its CEO, Carmen Carey, and the wider team as the business continues to expand. This is a strong addition to our UK technology-focused venture debt fund, and a key example of our focus on our meaningful approach to ESG, in particular, supporting female led businesses across all regions of the UK.

Carmen Carey, CEO of Sorted commented, “Customers are now expecting – and demanding – faultless delivery and returns experiences as standard, regardless of whether they order from a large multinational brand or a small business. In turn, the next stage in Sorted’s journey is set to provide the SMB market with exceptional delivery and returns capabilities. This latest round of funding will help drive Sorted’s vision, enabling seamless experiences for customers globally, especially as we begin to enter the US  market.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners commented; “since launching the new venture debt fund in June, our first close investors have continued to enjoy rapid deployment, with a fourth investment now completed.  Will and his team continue to maintain a robust pipeline of high-quality investments that will ensure the fund remains significantly invested, even as we grow our assets under management with subsequent fund closes through the remainder of 2022.”

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 Q2 2023.

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 financings for Growth Intelligence in July 2022 and 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).

 

 


Contact details:

Newgate Communications

 

Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@newgatecomms.com

 

Shard Credit Partners Limited

 

Head of Business Development: ben.ellis@shardcreditpartners.com

Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com

Shard Credit Partners Limited Holds First Close on New £75 million Venture Debt Fund I

Shard Credit Partners Limited announces the successful first close of its inaugural UK technology-focused venture debt fund, with £16.5 million in commitments from UK and European institutional investors, alongside UK technology industry entrepreneurs.  The fund will make investments in senior secured loans with equity warrants to venture capital backed businesses in the B2B SaaS and Fintech sectors located throughout the UK.

Shard Credit Partners Limited’s new fund will target borrowers with annual recurring revenues of at least £2.0 million, that are finding it increasingly difficult to source long-term financing from traditional lenders.  The fund will provide flexible venture loan capital in support of sales growth, through increased expenditure on marketing initiatives.  Typical loan sizes will range between £2.0-6.0 million per borrower, with maturities of up to five years.

The fund has already completed two investments with total commitments of £6.5 million ahead of first close.  This included the fund’s first exit in December 2021, PassFort, which generated a total gross IRR of 249.2% in just six months (1.8x multiple on invested capital).  The fund aims to complete around 15 investments per annum during the three year investment period.

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 delighted to hold our first close of the fund and we look forward to continuing to support fast-growth businesses across the software as a service and fintech sectors.  We aim to become the ‘go-to’ debt provider for venture capital-backed high growth technology businesses in the UK”.

Alastair Brown, Chief Executive of Shard Credit Partners Limited, commented, “The successful launch of our inaugural UK technology venture debt fund, just one year after launching this unique strategy, is a testament to the hard work of everyone that has been involved and is something to be proud of.  It further cements our position as a specialist private credit manager in the UK and continental European direct lending marketplace, successfully investing in strategies having a senior secured risk profile and generating high teens double digit gross returns for our institutional investor base”.

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.

The funds team at Stephenson Harwood led by Partner Sarah de Ste Croix and supported by Arooj Khan and Hugo Mayes, provided fund formation advice to Shard Credit Partners Limited.  The funds team at BDO, led by Partner Nicoletta Papademetris, supported by Tina Agnosteva, David Tran and Matt Barr, provided fund tax and structuring services to Shard Credit Partners Limited.

 


 

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).

 

Contact details:

Newgate Communications

 

Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@newgatecomms.com

 

Shard Credit Partners Limited

 

Head of Business Development: ben.ellis@shardcreditpartners.com

Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com

 

 

Shard Credit Partners exits its first venture debt fund investment in PassFort Ltd, in sale to Moody’s Corporation for an undisclosed sum.

PassFort Ltd (“PassFort”), a UK based SaaS regulatory technology company has been acquired by Moody’s Corporation (“Moody’s”) for an undisclosed sum.

PassFort, headquartered in London, was founded by Donald Gilles and Henry Irish in 2015. The company’s compliance platform provides automated ‘Know Your Customer’ (“KYC”) screening, Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) services and facilitates automated risk monitoring for regulated financial firms.

Moody’s is a global risk assessment firm, headquartered in New York. Its data and analytical solutions provide transparency to decision-makers across the world, empowering individuals to take more informed and effective business actions. The acquisition of PassFort supports Moody’s previous investments in KYC and AML capabilities.

Shard Credit Partners provided a venture debt facility of £3.5 million to PassFort in May 2021, in support of capital expenditure to promote business growth. In the past six months, the company’s workforce has grown by the addition of more than 30 staff, taking the total number of employees working in PassFort to 72. Further to the company’s growth, it has now been acquired by a multinational corporation. The Shard Credit Partners’ loan to PassFort represents the asset manager’s first ever investment from its new Venture Debt Fund I, which is holding a first close later this month.

Donald Gilles, CEO and Co-Founder of PassFort, commented: “We are, of course, delighted to become part of Moody’s, as we are joining a company with market leader status and more than 100 years of expertise in helping customers to manage risk. Together we will expand our automated KYC offerings and serve global customers with innovative RegTech solutions. But, we are equally grateful for the funding and support that Shard and our other investors have given PassFort – they believed in our vision and provided the capital and support to help us realise it.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners said: “PassFort has been a remarkable first investment for our new UK tech venture debt strategy, which we launched earlier this year. This is a ringing endorsement for UK tech venture capital and we are tremendously excited to be supporting this rapidly growing and important part of the UK economy through our inaugural venture debt fund, which is entirely focused on UK B2B SaaS and Fintech investments, the only one of its kind.”

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:     
Shard Credit Partners 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 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 plans to hold a first close on its second UK lower mid-market direct lending fund during Q1 2022.

Shard Credit Partners 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.

The firm has robust ESG policies.  In particular, it is 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 implementation of ESG covenants and ESG margin ratchets in its loan agreements and investment documentation as standard.

Recent investments also 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 Fund completed financing transactions for 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 ranked eighth in the Debtwire UK Direct Lender league table published by Acuris. Shard Credit Partners was recently awarded Alternative Finance Provider of the Year 2021 (North-East region) at the Insider Media Dealmakers Awards.

Shard Credit Partners Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).

 

Contact details:

SEC Newgate

 

Tel: Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@secnewgate.co.uk

Shard Credit Partners Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com

 

 

Shard Credit Partners provides £900K in support of the acquisition of The Educational Guidance Service Ltd by eQuality Solutions Ltd.

Shard Credit Partners has provided financing of £900K to portfolio company eQuality Solutions Ltd (“eQS”) to facilitate the acquisition of expert psychology business The Education Guidance Service (“EGS”).

eQS is a leading disability, diversity and inclusion specialist, headquartered in the North East. The group specialises in the support of students that qualify for an annual grant under the Disabled Students Allowance (“DSA”), as they enter higher education within the UK. The acquisition of EGS is the third acquisition by eQS in only ten months since the primary Management Buy-Out (“MBO”) in December 2020, as the group successfully executes its M&A buy-and-build strategy with the financial firepower being provided by the Shard Credit Partners.

EGS is based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and has over 40 employees. The company was established over 22 years ago and is one of the largest providers of educational and occupational psychologists. EGS provides services to children, young people and adults who experience specific learning difficulties and social and emotional barriers both within educational settings and the workplace.

Due to EGS’ complementary capabilities, the combined group will benefit from positive synergies by building on eQS’s disability services division, which provides specialist assistive technology equipment, software, training and mentoring in the education, workplace and government sectors.

EGS will add £1.7 million of revenue and c. £250K of EBITDA to the Group and will increase the number of employees to c.80 in addition to 350 freelance psychologists, consultants, trainers, and delivery engineers across the UK. This acquisition, combined with the completion of two recent acquisitions, strongly positions eQS to achieve £30 million turnover by 2023.

The acquisition financing was arranged by Shard Credit Partners as part of a committed £12 million senior secured unitranche facility provided in December 2020 in support of the primary MBO of eQS and to provide firepower for strategic acquisitions.

Andy Gough, CEO of eQS views this acquisition as being pivotal to the group’s ‘buy-and-build’ growth strategy and in becoming the leading global provider of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) solutions. Andy commented: “The past couple of years have not only seen a global health crisis but also an awakening regarding inclusion and acceptance of individuals identifying with a cognitive disability. This has created an even bigger demand for cognitive disability assessments within both the educational and workplace settings.

EGS is a leader in this market and quickly became our top choice for our next acquisition due to its capability and outstanding reputation. Upon first meeting with EGS founder Alex Griffiths, it was clear EGS is a strong strategic fit for the Group, aligning with our purpose and mission. I believe we share a mutual passion for helping people achieve their best by removing barriers. I am looking forward to welcoming the EGS team into the eQS family and believe we will achieve great things together.”

EGS founder Alex Griffiths said: “I have had many organisations interested in acquiring EGS over the last couple of years but eQS was the only acquirer I seriously considered for the business.  The eQS team stood out as down to earth people who understood what we were about and demonstrated a clear passion for looking after the EGS brand and developing it in the ‘EGS way’.  There was a synergy between our business culture and values, and a very obvious desire to look after the exceptional team who have helped us create this legacy of doing good and unlocking potential.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, commented: “We are pleased to continue to support our investment in eQS with additional funding to complete this important acquisition. As a lender we are very focused on supporting the environmental, social and governance agenda and very much look forward to the ongoing growth and development of eQS and EGS as they move together continuing with their great work.”

Advising eQS on the acquisition were Corporate Financiers Carl Swansbury, Rhiannon Nightingale, Connor McBride and Ben Kain of Newcastle-based RG Corporate Finance (RGCF), with financial and tax due diligence delivered by Grahame Maughan and Simon Whiteside of RG.

Legal advice was provided by Corporate Partner Tom Pollard and Corporate Solicitor Liam Stubbs of Ward Hadaway LLP.

Shard Credit Partners’ strategy is to become a leading provider of capital to entrepreneur and management-owned companies, VC backed growth businesses and private equity-owned companies focused on achieving transformational growth and expansion in the UK regions. During the past four years, Shard Credit Partners has invested more than £130.0 million in supporting regional Management Buy-Out transactions and M&A buy-and-build acquisition strategies, as well as growth capital expenditure financing.


About Shard Credit Partners:

Shard Credit Partners Ltd 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 direct lending and tech-focused venture debt.

Shard Credit Partners 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 plans to hold a first close on its second UK lower mid-market direct lending fund during Q1 2022.

Shard Credit Partners 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 fund invests in businesses across all sectors and throughout the UK.

The firm has a robust ESG focus; in particular, it is a strong supporter of female entrepreneurs and firms with meaningful female leadership, ownership and senior management.

Recent investments include the venture debt refinancing of PassFort Limited in May 2021, the venture debt financing for Rezatec Limited in August 2021, the financing in support of the acquisition of The Technology Group by Gradwell Communications in March 2021, as well as the refinancing and shareholder reorganisation of Midwest Mechanical and Electrical Services Ltd in August 2021. The fund completed financing transactions for 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 Ltd in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, each of which completed in December 2020.

In 2020, Shard Credit Partners ranked eighth in the Debtwire UK Direct Lender league table published by Acuris. Shard Credit Partners was recently awarded Alternative Finance Provider of the Year 2020 (North-east region) in the Insider Dealmakers Awards.

Shard Credit Partners Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Shard Capital AIFM LLP, authorised and regulated by the FCA (number 615463).

 

 

 

Contact details:

Newgate Communications

 

Tel: Elisabeth Cowell / Robin Tozer / Isabelle Smurfit

Email: shardcapital@newgatecomms.com

Shard Credit Partners Investor relations:   IR@shardcreditpartners.com

Business:    info@shardcreditpartners.com

Website:    www.shardcreditpartners.com