LDC and 3i alumni join BGF team

The Business Growth Fund has added three new members to its Birmingham investment team, the latest in a slew of hires that have taken its headcount past 50.

The BGF’s Birmingham investment team has more than doubled today with the appointment of three private equity professionals, according to a statement.

It has hired Ian Downing, Mark Freer, and Tim Whittard, all three of whom will be investment directors. The Midlands regional office now has five team members who will source good investment opportunities in small to medium-sized businesses.

Downing spent a decade at UK-listed private equity firm 3i's Midlands office moving Quotient Clinical, which provides clinical trial services, where he spent five years as chief financial officer.

Freer has 12 years private equity experience in the region, having worked at Lloyds Banking Group private equity arm LDC and Barclays Ventures in the Midlands. Whittard joins after stints at both Gresham Private Equity and Sovereign Capital. 

Head of investments at BGF, Richard Bishop, commented: “Since launching in Birmingham in May 2011, BGF has been working hard to create a nationwide infrastructure that will enable us to put capital to work, executing thirty to forty investments per year.  These appointments are illustrative of this and underpin our commitment to Birmingham and the Midlands.”

The BGF was established in May 2011 to invest in SME growth companies. In October, it announced its first investment as Benefex, an online employee rewards and benefits scheme provider. The BGF invested £4.2 million (€4.9 million; $6.7 million) in the business led by founder Matt Waller. 

In October the BGF invested £4.25 million of growth capital in independent travel management company Statesman Travel Group. According to a press release at the time, Statesman was introduced to BGF by Lloyds Banking Group, one of the Fund’s shareholders.