Deal round-up 14/10/03

SLSV leads $15m series B round; Apax, Alta Berkeley back Frontier Silicon; CDC Capital invests in South Africa; Trinity backing for Shenick; Immunoporation secures £200,000; Small business fund grows wings; GEIF Ventures backs Quotient Diagnostics

SLSV leads $15m series B round


Scandinavian Life Science Venture, the company formed by the merger of the life science team from The Sixth Swedish National Pension Fund, Medicon Valley Capital and Innoventus, has led a $15m financing round for Copenhagen-based Nuevolution, a privately held drug discovery company.


SLSV was joined in the series B financing round by SEB Företagsinvest, a division of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB. Institutions from the previous financing investing in this round include Novo, Nordic Biotech and The Danish Investment Fund. Nuevolution has now raised $24m in venture financing and plans to raise additional funds through a second closing.


Apax, Alta Berkeley back Frontier Silicon


Apax Partners and Alta Berkeley have reached agreement with Frontier Silicon, a fabless semiconductor business based in Kings Langley, which includes a financing package for the business.


Apax Partners’ Funds and Alta Berkeley have provided funds to expand Frontier Silicon’s resources, enabling development of its digital radio and digital television products as the company enters its second phase of growth. Financial terms were not disclosed.


As part of the agreement, Pete Magowan, a partner at Alta Berkeley and formerly VP of sales and marketing of ARM Holdings, Jonathan Brooks (formerly CFO of ARM Holdings) and Michael Risman, director of Apax Partners have joined the company’s board of directors.

CDC Capital invests in South Africa


CDC Capital Partners has invested $5m in Platmin Ltd – a platinum exploration and mining company based in South Africa. The CDC investment is part of $12m round in conjunction with Nesbitt Burns (Bank of Montreal) and the CDC-sponsored Africa Lion Fund. The financing will be used to accelerate Platmin's exploration and development activities in South Africa.


Platmin, through its South African subsidiary Boynton Investments, owns a portfolio of platinum group metals projects in the platinum-producing area of South Africa – the Bushveld Complex, the source of 75 per cent of the world's annual platinum supply.


CDC has invested over $140m in the mining sector in Africa over the past seven years. Investments include aluminium smelting in Mozambique, gold mining in Tanzania and Ghana, platinum and palladium in South Africa and African Lion, a private pan-African equity fund specialising in early stage mining investment.


Trinity backing for Shenick


Shenick, the Dublin-based software and hardware equipment supplier to the telecommunications industry, has received E2.5m in first-round funding from Trinity Venture Capital.


Founded in 2000 by chief executive Alan Robinson, Shenick’s software tests telecom equipment makers’ technology for glitches before products are sold to customers. Proceeds of the funding will be used for a sales and marketing drive in the company’s largest overseas markets.


The firm, which has 20 staff and an office in San Francisco, will target the growing metro Ethernet market, which allows companies to connect far-flung branches through fibre optic lines that can deliver broadband quality services.


Immunoporation secures £200,000


Immunoporation, a spinout from the University of Essex, has won £200,000 funding from Iceni Seedcorn Fund to exploit its technology for moving DNA and other potentially therapeutic molecules efficiently into human cells for a range of applications from gene therapy to cancer research.


Based in Maidstone and Colchester, one of the firm’s patented technologies has already been licensed out for development within the plant and microbial markets. The firm will exploit technologies through its own branded product ranges as well as private label, licensing and joint venture agreements.


The £4m Iceni Seedcorn Fund is a partnership between the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, the John Innes Centre, the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Institute of Food Research and Plant Bioscience Limited.


Small business fund grows wings


Bank of Scotland Business Banking and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Co-Investment Fund (SCF) have formed the new £4m Angel Partnership Fund to make early-stage investments in SMEs with growth potential throughout Scotland. The fund will co-invest alongside business angels, either individuals or syndicates, with a view to encouraging increased investment from the business angel community.


The fund, which was established by Bank of Scotland, will normally make investments through ordinary equity share capital. SCF will match the bank’s investment in each case and has set aside £2m to cover the initial three-year period of the fund.


GEIF Ventures backs Quotient Diagnostics


GEIF Ventures has matched Great Eastern Investment Forum (GEIF) business angels with a £100,000 investment in Quotient Diagnostics, a creator and manufacturer of diagnostic tools for assisting the treatment of diabetes.


Quotient was formed in December 2002 to develop an instrument to provide low-cost, immediate and accurate measurement of glycated haemoglobin in blood samples.


GEIF is investing alongside five GEIF business angels as well as The Capital Fund (the regional venture capital fund for London) and NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).