Scottish firm bucks VC trend

In a still slowing venture market, Scottish optical components firm Intense Photonics has attracted E16m in second round financing.

A number of prominent European venture capital firms have backed the second round financing for UK optical components business Intense Photonics, suggesting that the interest is still there for the right businesses.

Intense Photonics, based in High Blantyre, has attracted E16m (£10.5m) in a round of financing led by Cazenove Private Equity. Other backers included 3i and ACT Venture Capital – previous backers of the company – and new investors FNI Venture Capital and TTP Ventures.

Intense Photonics will use the funds to accelerate the development of its product range and strengthen its marketing effort. Previously it secured £10m in series A finance from 3i and ACT Venture Capital, venture leasing from European Venture Partners and grants from the Scottish Executive.

The fundraising, one of the largest European VC investments in 2002, is particularly impressive given the figures published today by VentureOne, which suggest that only 44 UK venture capital investments were completed in the last quarter, with the average investment down to E7.5m – less than half that raised in this second round.

Tod Bensen, CEO of Cazenove Private Equity, said he was confident that the syndicate had identified the right investment despite the current turmoil in the sector. 'We have followed the progress of Intense Photonics for some 18 months and have seen it develop considerably over this period.”