Matrix Private Equity, the private equity unit of the UK financial services group, has named Helen Sinclair as its new managing director.
Helen joined Matrix in 2000 as a director to set up the firm’s private equity group. Prior to this, she worked as an investment executive at 3i at the firm’s London offices between 1991 and 1998. She replaces former managing director Mark Burgess who is leaving the UK to work overseas.
In May 2000, the firm launched Matrix Venture Fund, a £13m new technology and internet investments vehicle which has so far made eight investments and is 50 per cent invested.
Matrix launched its first Equity Investment Scheme (EIS) fund in 2001, raising less than £2m despite a £5m target. To date MEF I has invested in FSG Security Group, a security service provider, and Signature Brands, a fashion retailer, in a £7m transaction jointly led by Matrix and Electra Partners Europe. MEF I is expected to be fully invested by 5 April 2003, the end of the UK tax year. The firm intends to launch a new MEF every year, with investors committing a minimum of £25,000.
The firm is currently in the process of raising its third fund, Matrix Enterprise Fund II, which was launched in January and is seeking £5m. Sinclair said the fund was progressing reasonably well, given the current difficult fundraising climate. “We will continue to raise the fund for at least the next month or two and will make our first investment after the final close.” MEF II is a lower risk vehicle than its predecessors, and will target ‘nuts and bolts’ industries and manufacturing companies in the UK.
“There is definite scope for firms looking for opportunities at the lower end of the investment spectrum,' said Sinclair. 'Investors very rarely look at businesses below the £5m mark and this should present MEF II with significant opportunities.'