Quester adds assets to VCT 5

The UK-listed firm has increased its fifth venture capital trust to £22m in commitments, a year after an initial closing on £18.6m.

UK-based independent venture capital investor Quester has raised £4m of new equity capital for Quester VCT 5, the firm's fifth venture capital which was re-opened to new commitments after holding an original close last May on £18.6m.

Last October, the firm's director John Spooner announced plans to re-open the fund, the result of an improvement in valuations in the technology sector. 'The quality of investment opportunities remains high. It seemed obvious to us that reopening Quester VCT 5 would give private investors the opportunity to take advantage of this unique environment.' The fund has now secured commitments totaling more than £22m, around £3.5m higher than the £18.6m secured by May 2002.

The firm has now raised over £200m using venture capital trust structures. Quester VCT 5, which has already made a number of investments, including a £2.9m investment last September in Workshare Technology, will continue to invest in unquoted companies primarily involved in information and communication technologies, and healthcare and life sciences.

'I am delighted with the amount raised in these difficult market conditions,' said Spooner in a statement. 'Our investors understand that Quester VCT 5 has good growth potential and that now is a good time to invest as prices have fallen and competition has reduced, resulting in investment opportunities with attractive potential.'

Despite the improved closing, the fifth fund has still fallen short of its original £25m target. In 2001, the firm's fourth fund managed to raise £50m within four weeks of its launch. In addition to the firm’s five listed VCTs, Quester manages venture capital funds on behalf of international institutional investors and funds from academic institutions including Oxford University.