Advent makes 3x on Inca Digital

The UK-based venture firm has sold its Cambridge, UK-based portfolio company to a Japanese trade buyer for £30m, resulting in a 27 percent IRR.

European venture capital firm Advent Venture Partners has sold Inca Digital Printers to Japanese manufacturing company Dainippon Screen for £30 million (€45 million; $55 million) in an all-cash deal.

It’s relatively rare – very few early stage tech companies get sold to large Japanese businesses.

Martin McNair, investment partner, Advent Venture Partners

The transaction, made by Advent Private Equity Fund II (APEF II) in May 2000, generated cash proceeds of 3x Advent’s original investment and generated an IRR of 27 percent.

Commenting on the transaction in an interview with PEO, Advent investment partner Martin McNair said: “We’re very pleased. It’s relatively rare – very few early stage tech companies get sold to large Japanese businesses.”

McNair added that although the firm had kept an eye on the emergence of AIM as a potential exit route but that: “We realised that [Inca] had enormous strategic value to trade buyers and the Japanese market for digital printing technology is very strong.”

Inca was founded in 2000 as a spinout from Cambridge Consultants. Based in

Inca: digital printing big in Japan

Cambridge, UK, the company employs 140 people manufacturing industrial inkjet printing technology.

Gartmore Private Equity and Foresight VCT joined Advent in its investment and a subsequent small funding round in October 2001.

Advent recently held a first close of its latest fund, Advent Private Equity Fund IV), on £128 million. McNair said that the fundraising was continuing to attract interest from new investors and that the firm hoped to hold a final close “in the not-too-distant future”.

Founded in 1981, Advent Venture Partners is a London-based technology venture capital firm with more than £500 million under management.