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 2018

2018 Report on Investment Activity


Executive Summary

1. Fundraising
  • Total fundraising in 2018 reached £34.12bn.
  • The number of funds raising new capital was 94.

Pension funds provided 39% of all capital raised followed by fund of funds (13%), sovereign wealth funds (10%), and insurance companies (10%). Institutional investors from outside the UK contributed approximately 86%.

Buyout fundraising reached £27.64bn. Pension funds are the largest institutional investor in UK buyout funds contributing 39%, followed by fund of funds (13%), sovereign wealth funds (11%), and insurance companies (10%) 

Venture capital fundraising reached £1.09bn. Private individuals contributed 32% to the total VC fundraising amount, followed by capital markets & corporate investors (20%) and Government agencies (15%).

Growth capital reached £3.58bn. Pension funds were the largest contributor at 37% followed by funds of funds at 17%.

2. Investments
  • The total equity amount invested in portfolio companies in 2018 decreased by 7% year-on-year to £20.64bn.
  • The number of companies receiving investment rose 30% to 1,335.

Buyout investment decreased by 12% year-onyear to £16.03bn. The number of companies backed decreased by 10% to 208. Mega buyouts accounted for 38% of the buyout market, followed by large buyouts at 36%. Small buyouts increased by 17% year-on-year to £408m with 80 companies backed. Mid-market saw a slight year-on-year decrease of 3% at £3.7bn investing in 103 companies.

Venture capital investment increased by 21% to £0.99bn and more than doubled since 2015. 698 companies were venture-backed: a 44% increase. Seed investments decreased by 7% with £52m invested. Early stage investments increased 53% year-on-year in size to £480m. Start-up grew to £117m, which is an increase of 39%. Later stage investments decreased by 8% to £336m.

Growth capital investments increased by 66% to £3.24bn. 415 companies were backed, a 40% increase year-on-year.

3. Divestments
  • Around 500 companies were exited in 2018, a similar number to 2017.

By amount of former equity investments (divestments at cost), the total value was £8.75bn, a year-on-year decrease of more than 38%.

The most prominent exit routes by amount at cost were trade sale (38.2%), sale to another private equity firm (31.3%) and public offering (10.0%).

Buyout divestments represented 80% by amount at cost and around 34% by number of companies of all exits in 2018.

Venture capital covered 19% of all divestments with 97 companies. The most prominent exit route was public offering, which represented more than 34% in amount at cost divested in 2018. Growth divestments represented 15% of all exits by amount at cost and 42% by number of companies.

Growth divestments represented 15% of all exits by amount at cost and 42% by number of companies.


BVCA Journal Summer 2020

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