Par Equity to launch debut fund

The Edinburgh-based firm is awaiting approval from the FSA to market its first private equity fund, but will soon start doing early stage deals from its newly established angel syndicate arm.

Par Equity, a Scottish private equity firm founded last year, is on the brink of marketing its debut fund, the Par Innovation Fund I, but is awaiting approval from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA). In order to start doing deals in the meantime it has launched an angel syndicate arm called Par Syndicate. The angel syndicate will invest in early stage business opportunities and is being led by Par Equity’s advisory panel, headed by Simon Best.

Paul Munn, managing partner of Par Equity, said in an interview that the angel syndicate gives the firm greater flexibility to speed up transactions without having to wait for FSA approval. Munn said that the syndicate is likely to look at earlier stage investments than the Par Innovation Fund, which will target “genuinely innovative” companies predominantly in the information technology sector, with enterprise values of up to £10 million.

Munn co-founded Par Equity in March last year with Paul Atkinson, currently chairman of Scottish recruitment agency Head Resourcing; Robert Higginson, formerly an investment strategist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam and Royal Bank of Scotland; and Andrew Castell, an accountant who began his career at Touche Ross, now Deloitte. None of the firm’s founders have direct private equity experience, but the firm is what Munn calls “practitioner led”, meaning that it is “managed by people who have built, managed and restructured businesses in a hands-on fashion”.