Bridges Ventures wins top industry award

Bridges Ventures, the venture capital company with a social mission, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the British Venture Capital Association/Real Deals Private Equity Award 2008 for Fund of the Year

Bridges Ventures delivers social returns by investing in companies based in the most deprived areas of the UK and in businesses that offer a strong intrinsic social or environmental return in sectors such as healthcare, education and the environment. These returns are measured using the Bridges Ventures social IMPACT scorecard and reported to investors alongside their financial returns.

Michele Giddens, director of Bridges Ventures, commented:   “We were delighted to be chosen as the Fund of the Year by the BVCA and Real Deals. The industry-wide recognition that this prestigious award brings with it has been a real boost to our efforts to further develop the social venture capital space in the UK.”

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Notes on Bridges Ventures:   Bridges Ventures is a venture capital company with a social mission whose commercial expertise is used to achieve social or environmental aims as well as attractive returns for investors. Bridges Ventures key backers include Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder and former chairman of Apax Partners, 3i and Tom Singh of New Look.   Two funds have been raised to date. The first fund, CDV Fund I, totaled £40m while the second, CDV Fund II, totaled £75m, beating its original target of £50m by 50%, and was closed in 2007. Investors in the second fund include HSBC, Doughty Hanson, Co-operative Financial Services, Barclays Business Banking, Lloyds TSB, and Citigroup, individuals including Dr Mike Lynch of Autonomy Corporation, Harvey McGrath of Man Group and Lloyd Dorfman of Travelex, as well as pension funds and endowments including the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the West Midlands Pension Fund and All Souls College.   Bridges Ventures funds deliver social returns both on a geographical and sector-specific basis, which are measured using the Bridges Ventures social IMPACT scorecard and reported to investors alongside their financial returns.   All investments are socially screened at the outset and must meet one or both of the following two criteria:   1. Regeneration – businesses must be located in the most deprived 25% of the UK, as defined using the government’s index of multiple deprivation, and contribute to their local community in at least one of the following ways:

  • Employment creation
  • Substantial expenditure to suppliers
  • Serving the area as a core market

2. Sustainable business – an ability to demonstrate strong social benefits in sectors such as healthcare, education, the environment and ethical business.   Bridges Ventures typically invests up to £10m at a time in growth businesses both as early stage development capital, or as management buy-outs. So far £55m has been invested 36 companies, many of whose employees have come out of long-term unemployment. To date there have been three successful and profitable exits: Harlands in Hull, SimplySwitch in South London and HS Atec in Yorkshire.