MTI Partners sets up in Waltham

In a bid to help portfolio companies develop globally, UK early-stage venture capital firm MTI Partners has established an office in the US.

Herfordshire-based venture capital firm MTI Partners has opened an office in the US in order to develop a US presence for portfolio companies and strengthen MTI’s links with US venture capitalists and advisors.

Ward: moving to Massachusetts

David Ward, senior partner at MTI Partners, will relocate to the new office in Waltham, Massachusetts, in order to lead the firm’s US activities. Speaking to PEO, Ward said that the office opened “a few weeks ago” and he will relocate during the first quarter of next year.

Ward joined MTI Partners in September 1999 and specialises in materials science, wireless communications and security software.

The new office will be situated close to Boston’s high tech corridor of Route 128, which Ward said “is perfectly positioned to enhance our own ties into the industry and most importantly, in turn, our investees’ relationship with US VCs.”

Ward added that around half of MTI’s investee companies have operations in the US and that the new office would help the firm support further developments overseas. There are no plans, however, to use the new base to invest in US technology companies. “We’re not going over there to try and compete head to head for venture with the US guys,” he said. “We’ll still be investing in our local territory, which is the UK.”

We plan within the next two or three years to do the same thing in Asia, once the percentage of our portfolio companies that need to be in Asia gets to around 50 percent.

David Ward, senior partner, MTI Partners

Ward also hinted at further expansion for MTI, saying that the firm was considering its approach to other regions developing in importance, such as South East Asia and India. “We plan within the next two or three years to do the same thing in Asia, once the percentage of our portfolio companies that need to be in Asia gets to around 50 percent,” said Ward.

The firm is currently investing from its fourth fund, MTI4, which closed on £104 million (€154 million; $180 million) in 2000. Ward said that MTI4 was now close to being fully invested, with a reserve of funds kept back specifically for the existing portfolio. Fundraising for MTI5 is expected to begin early next year.

Founded in 1983 by Dr. Paul Castle, MTI provides risk capital and management resources to early-stage high-tech companies, typically investing between £1 million and £5 million.