The BVCA Research team compiles and publishes benchmark investment activity data each year for the UK private equity and venture capital industry.

For this, data is collected from all of our GP members on their aggregate investment activity and is used to produce the most comprehensive overview of the UK’s private equity and venture capital markets available. The activity report produced each year by the BVCA captures the aggregate investments, divestments, and fundraising information of the BVCA full member firms. The report details investment information that is broken down across industry sectors, financing and investment stages, and UK regions.

Report on Investment Activity (RIA) - 2017

2017 RIA


Executive Summary

1. Fundraising
  • Total fundraising in 2017 reached £33bn.
  • The number of funds raising new capital was 79.

Pension funds provided 40% of all capital raised followed by sovereign wealth funds (17%), fund of funds (11%) and private individuals (8%). Institutional investors from outside the UK contributed approximately 82%.

Buyout fundraising reached £31.33bn. Pension funds are the largest institutional investor in UK buyout funds contributing 42%, followed by sovereign wealth funds (18%), fund of funds (11%) and private individuals (7%).

Venture capital fundraising reached £770m. Private individuals contributed 34% to the total VC fundraising amount, followed by Government agencies (15%) and capital markets & corporate investors (13%).

Growth capital reached £330m. Pension funds were the largest contributor at 29% followed by Government agencies at 21%.

2. Investments
  • The total equity amount invested in portfolio companies in 2017 increased by 4% year-on-year to £22.23bn.
  • The number of companies receiving investment rose 11% to 1,030.

Buyout investment increased over 21% year-on-year to £18.22bn. The number of companies backed increased by 46% to 230. Large buyouts accounted for 47% of the buyout market, followed by mega buyouts at 30%. Small buyouts almost doubled year on year to £348mn with 82 companies backed. Mid-market saw a year on year increase of almost17% at £3.8bn investing in 114 companies.

Venture capital investment increased by 45% to £820m and effectively doubled since 2014. 485 companies were venture-backed: a 36% increase. Seed investments grew by almost 300%, reaching £56m followed by early stage financing which year-on-year nearly doubled in size to £313m. Start-up grew to £84m, which is an increase of 75%. Later stage investments grew by 10% to reach £366m.

Growth capital investments decreased by 40% to £1.95bn. 297 companies were backed, an 8% decrease year-on-year.

3. Divestments
  • Around 500 companies were exited in 2017, approximately a 10% decrease compared with 2016.

By amount of former equity investments (divestments at cost), the total value was £14.14bn, a year-on-year decrease of more than 50% compared with last year’s record of £29bn.

The most prominent exit routes by amount at cost were trade sale (31.5%), sale to another private equity firm (27.9%) and public offering (16.4%).

Buyout divestments represented 80% by amount at cost and around 40% by number of companies of all exits in 2017.

Venture capital comprised around 20% of all divestments with 100 companies. The most prominent exit route was trade sale, which represented more than 50% in amount at cost divested in 2017.

Growth divestments represented 14% of all exits by amount at cost and 31% by number of companies.


BVCA Journal Spring 2019

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