MTI back on track

MTI Partners has made two hires with a third to follow that should help the firm move into the next phase of its development after a difficult spell since its founding partner retired.

MTI Partners, a UK technology venture capital firm, has appointed Sarah Bates as non-executive director and Ray Sangster as a venture partner.

Sangster was the interim chief executive officer for MTI portfolio company Eleksen, a fabrics manufacturer now listed on AIM. Sangster has chief executive officer and divisional level experience in technology businesses such as Sony, an electronics manufacturer, and First Telecom, a telecoms company.

Ernie Richardson, chief executive officer of MTI, said: “It’s somewhere between a non-executive director and entrepreneur in residence.  We’re using him as a resource in relation to our consumer electronics.”

Richardson said a full time investing partner would be appointed in the first half of the year.

Bates previously worked at Invesco Asset Management, where until 2003 she was chief executive officer of Invesco Institutional, having also managed their specialist funds business.  She replaces Peter Lawson, who retired in Autumn 2005.

Bates is a non-executive director of four UK listed investment trusts and St. James’s Place, a listed wealth management business. She is also an advisor to the East Riding Pension Fund, Merseyside Pension Fund and the Royal College of Surgeons investment committee.

MTI was due to come to market with its fifth fund at the beginning of last year, after closing its £104m (€152m) fourth fund in 2000.

However, it pulled the fundraising, which had struggled in the face of investor diffidence to European venture as an asset class after bumper returns from buyout funds.

Richardson decided instead to abandon the fundraising rather than close on an amount, which was not “meaningful”. The new hires should give MTI a renewed sense of purpose at a time when venture is beginning to gain more support among investors than it has enjoyed for some time.