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 2019


Executive Summary

1. Fundraising
  • Total fundraising in 2019 reached £47.59bn.
  • The number of funds raising new capital was 118.

Pension funds provided 38% of all capital raised followed by sovereign wealth funds (14%) and fund of funds (11%). Institutional investors from outside the UK contributed approximately 89%.

Buyout fundraising reached £41.01bn. Pension funds are the largest institutional investor in UK buyout funds contributing 40%, followed by sovereign wealth funds (15%), fund of funds (11%), and insurance companies (10%).

Venture capital fundraising reached £2.4bn. Private individuals contributed 19% to the total VC fundraising amount, followed by pension funds (15%) and fund of funds (13%).

Growth capital reached £3.22bn. Pension funds were the largest contributor at 29% followed by private individuals at 21%. This year’s report showed the continued flows of international sources of funds with circa. 89% of fundraising coming from outside of the UK. This is up from 86% in 2018 and 82% in 2017.

2. Investments
  • The total equity amount invested in portfolio companies in 2019 increased by 8% year-on-year to £22.33bn.
  • The number of companies receiving investment rose 15% to 1530.

Buyout investment increased by 5% year-onyear to £16.86bn. The number of companies backed increased by 9% to 226. Large buyouts accounted for 43% of the buyout market, followed by mega buyouts at 35%. In 2019 Small buyouts remained consistent with £407m invested and 90 companies backed.

Mid-market saw a slight year-on-year decrease of 9% at £3.4bn investing in 101 companies. Venture capital investment increased by 67% year-on-year to £1.65bn with 821 companies backed, an 18% increase. Seed investments increased to £87m in 2019. Early stage investments increased 80% year-on-year in size to £865m. Start-up grew to £210m, an increase of 79%. Later stage investments increased by 39% to £467m.

Growth capital investments increased by 12% to £3.63bn. 467 companies were backed, a 13% increase year-on-year.

3. Divestments
  • Around 512 companies were exited in 2019, a similar number to 2018.

By amount of former equity investments (divestments at cost), the total value was £8.19bn.

The most prominent exit routes by amount at cost were sale to another private equity and venture capital firm (36.2%), trade sale (28.1%) and repayment of preference shares (13.2%).

Buyout divestments represented 76% by amount at cost and around 32% by number of companies of all exits in 2019. Venture capital comprised around 25% of all divestments with 128 companies. The most prominent exit route was trade sale, which represented 24% of number of companies divested in 2019.

Growth divestments represented 16% of all exits by amount at cost and 38% by number of companies.


BVCA Journal – Spring 2021

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