BVCA announces winners of South West Management Team Awards 2017
5 May 2017

The South West’s leading businesses will be celebrated this evening at the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Management Team Awards 2017, our annual celebration of UK companies supported by private equity and venture capital funds, produced in association with Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Now in their ninth year, the BVCA Management Team Awards recognise and reward brilliant businesses up and down the country that are backed by UK private equity and venture capital investors.

The regional winners will be announced and presented with their prizes tonight, as part of the BVCA National Dinner Series – the premier annual gatherings of regional private equity and venture capital professionals in the UK. They will then go forward into the national final to compete against our other regions, before the national winners are announced at the BVCA Gala Dinner on 30 November in London.

The full list of winners for the South West Management Team Awards 2017:

Backed by 
Independent Vetcare Summit Partners until November 2016, now EQT Large Company Team
Black & White Hospitality Downing Mid-Market Team 
Red Paddle Co Ltd (Tushingham) Moebus Equity Partners Growth Management Team 
Symetrica Technology Venture Partners, Parkwalk, Albion Venture-backed Management Team
Stirling Dynamics Enact Business Transformation Management Team

Peter Latham, Chair of the South West judging panel and Investment Director at LDC said: “This past year has shown the strength of UK investment, and the successes of this year’s winners are a great representation of it. The BVCA Management Team Awards recognise these fantastic businesses, which are supported by private equity and venture capital. My congratulations to the South West winners, and good luck at the national awards in November.”

Harry Walker, Associate Director, Grant Thornton, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “It’s an honour to be sponsoring these awards again this year, celebrating the achievements of the private equity and venture capital-backed management teams in our region. Each year these awards bring home the breadth and quality of the management teams in our region and, once again, deciding the winners was no easy task for the judging panel. Each winner is extremely deserving of their accolade.

“These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the achievements of the teams, but also for them to strengthen their profiles in the wider corporate community. The South West is home to a wealth of dynamic businesses and entrepreneurs contributing to a vibrant economy and these awards really highlight their success.”

The winners are:

Large Company Management Team

Independent Vetcare

Backed by Summit Partners until November 2016, now EQT

Independent Vetcare is a national group of independent veterinary practices.

The group has rapidly grown through acquisition and organic growth, now employing over 2,500 people over 300 practices. It has purposely remained sensitive to the local market and built sub brands were appropriate, as apposed to working toward becoming a national brand name. Summit Partner’s exit demonstrated the quality of the business, and EQT’s 2016 investment will assist Independent Vetcare in accelerating growth and expanding internationally.

Judges’ comments: “A hugely successful exit at the end of 2016 was testament to the quality of this business. David Hillier and his team added 107 new sites in 2016, but it is their skill in rapidly integrating acquisitions into their clinically-led culture that is as much responsible for their very impressive and swift growth in financial performance. International expansion is next.”

Mid-Market Team

Black & White Hospitality

Backed by Downing

Black & White Hospitality started as three Marco Pierre White franchises. It is the amalgamation of 36 franchisor restaurants, with a view to increase to 50 by the end of 2017.

The management team has worked closely with Downing since an initial investment in 2013.

Judges’ comments: “The judges were very impressed with what has been achieved through the close entrepreneurial partnership between Nick Taplin and Marco Pierre White, in this business which combines direct operation of restaurants with franchising the Marco Pierre White brand. 2016 saw the purchase of Cadbury House outright and growth in franchisees from 27 to 36. The business has already delivered significant profit and value growth for its investors. International opportunities add to the growth potential.”

Growth Management Team of the Year

Red Paddle Co Ltd (Tushingham)

Backed by Mobeus

UK windsurfing champion John Hibbard formed Red Paddle Co, an inflatable paddle boards brand, in partnership with Tushingham in 2008, on the back of Tushingham’s 30 year reputation as a leading watersports distributor.

The investment from Mobeus allowed the business to maintain its leading position in an attractive and growing niche in the watersports sector.

Judges’ comments: “The team pioneered inflatable paddleboards under their Red Paddle Co brand and have taken them to elite level. What impressed the judges was the international reach of the company and brand, together with a strong team ethos and commitment to their locality. The business is also growing at 30% pa and is nicely profitable whilst generating employment growth in the region.”

Venture-backed Management Team


Backed by Technology Venture Partners, Parkwalk, Albion

Symetrica was created in 2002. It develops and manufactures radiation detection technologies and equipment, currently, mainly for the Homeland security sector.

Investment has worked with the company to commercialise disruptive technologies, ensuring it remains the workd’s leading technology for detection and identification.

Judges’ comments: “Symetrica has been a pioneer in its radiation detection technology and now has a leading position in homeland security. The judges were impressed with the way Heddwyn Davies had grasped this opportunity in 2016, driving a fourfold increase in sales, notably breaking into the US market, while at the same time bringing out a handheld version of the technology.”

Business Transformation Management Team

Stirling Dynamics

Backed by Enact

Based in Bristol, Stirling Dynamics provides specialist engineering design services for commercial and defence clients in the global aerospace and marine markets.

Enact’s investment in the company has seen it evolve and grow through implementing strategic, commercial and operational initiatives.

Judges’ comments: “The loss of a large government contract in 2014 precipitated a funding crisis in this long-standing aerospace engineering consultancy. Enact worked with Mark Cook to evaluate the business and then Mark went in as CEO post-investment. The business was quickly restored to profitability and is now performing strongly, with 25% revenue growth in the current year. The judges were impressed by the clear, structured approach from Mark and his team to transforming this business.”

Notes to editor

  1. The BVCA Management Team Awards, produced in association with Grant Thornton UK LLP, are the only awards to celebrate the achievements of private equity and venture capital-backed management teams. There are eight regions in total, each with their own judging panel, and all winners are automatically forwarded to the national final, the results of which will be presented at the BVCA Annual Gala Dinner on 30 November in London. Please click here for more information..

  2. The South West judging panel consists of: Ned Dorbin, Business Growth Fund; Guy Davies, WestBridge Capital; Julian Dennard, Mercia; Richard Babington, Moebus; Jonathan Boss, Downing; Peter Latham, LDC; Jeff Thomas, UK Cloud. .

  3. The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) is the industry body for the UK private equity and venture capital industry. The BVCA has over 600 member firms, representing the vast majority of UK-based private equity and venture capital firms and their advisers..

  4. Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-thinking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 35,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 100 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. The UK Grant Thornton member firm provides services to over 40,000 privately held businesses, public interest entities and individuals. It is led by more than 185 partners and employs more than 4,200 of the profession's brightest minds. Find out more at

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