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Investment Fund for Wales announces its first major deal

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British Business Bank £130m Investment Fund for Wales makes £1.3m first equity investment in online adventure travel brand EverTrek.

The British Business Bank announces its first major equity deal from the £130m Investment Fund for Wales, with a £650,000 investment from the Equity Finance fund, managed by appointed fund managers Foresight Group (“Foresight”), into ‘hard adventure’ travel firm, EverTrek.

The deal includes co-funding of £650,000 which Foresight has provided using the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (“MEIF”); this is operated by British Business Bank and Foresight was appointed fund manager to MEIF in 2018.

The investment in EverTrek is the first deal announced on behalf of the Fund and comes just two months after its launch on November 23rd 2023.

The Investment Fund for Wales was launched in late November 2023 by the government-backed British Business Bank to boost the supply of early-stage finance to small and medium-sized businesses across Wales.

Caerphilly (and Hereford) based EverTrek is a growing online travel brand catering to the £1.7bn hard adventure segment of the £10.7bn UK adventure tourism market. Voted the UK’s number one trekking and walking company by the British Travel Awards, the company currently offers a range of high-altitude treks through external partners, with premium treks including Mt Everest in Nepal, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and Machu Picchu in Peru.

As part of the investment package the EverTrek team will be supported by sector specialist, Gordon Mathie, who has been appointed as Chairman, as well as the wider Firebird Collective, an experience led travel sector specialist advisory group which will also provide further support. Gordon co-founded LoveTEFL, led the buyout of i-to-i from TUI in 2015 and orchestrated an MBO in 2020, followed by a successful exit of both ventures to Learn Direct in 2021.

This is EverTrek’s first investment round, and has already created five new skilled jobs, with the appointment of two marketing employees, an Operations Coordinator, Financial Controller and Finance Director, as well as the establishment of a small office in Hereford.

The investment will also be used to expand the selection of tour experiences across the globe, in Costa Rica, Patagonia, Iceland, Romania and Slovenia. In addition to the hard adventure sector, the firm will also be expanding its soft adventure experiences offering, in order to address more accessible tourism markets.

Based at WelshICE in Caerphilly, EverTrek was founded in 2017 by CEO Andy Moore following a trip to Nepal, and together with the EverTrek management team Dave Carpenter and Jen Hall, they have since established EverTrek as an emerging force in the adventure tourism market.

With the support of the new investment the trio are aiming to achieve a turnover of £2.5m in 2024 and increase customer numbers to 3,000 annually.

Andy Moore, founder and CEO of EverTrek:

“We’re hugely proud of what we’ve achieved so far over the last few years and are delighted to secure this investment from Investment Fund for Wales. It was clear from our very first conversations with Foresight that we were aligned in unlocking EverTrek’s full potential.

 

We’re excited to start working with our new Chair, Gordon Mathie, and believe his sector expertise will be invaluable and will support us in achieving greater long-term success. EverTrek’s next steps look extremely positive and we look forward to providing further updates”.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions, at the British Business Bank, said:

“This investment in EverTrek marks a significant milestone for the Bank’s Investment Fund for Wales. The fund has been established to back innovative and ambitious companies like EverTrek so we are particularly pleased to see this investment, supporting their expansion plans, complete less than two months after the launch of the Fund.  Growth businesses in Wales can now see that the Investment Fund for Wales is out of the blocks, and ready to invest.”

John Cordrey, Principal in the private equity team at Foresight, said:

“The opportunity to invest in EverTrek provides the Investment Fund for Wales with an exciting investment shortly after the fund launched. EverTrek is an exciting, high-growth, differentiated adventure brand with significant scope for expansion. We are very pleased to be supporting Andy and the EverTrek team who are driven, passionate and knowledgeable about the sector.”

Foresight has invested £650,000 in EverTrek through The Midlands Engine Investment Fund – East Midlands Equity Finance, which is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

For more information: www.investmentfundwales.co.uk

For more information, please contact:

Lauren Tunnicliffe, Senior Communications Manager, British Business Bank, lauren.tunnicliffe@british-business-bank.co.uk

Kara Williams, Working Word, 07968 212 096, kara.williams@workingword.co.uk

Notes to editors

About the Investment Fund for Wales

Operated by the British Business Bank, the Investment Fund for Wales (IFW) provides a mix of debt and equity funding. IFW will offer a range of commercial finance options with smaller loans from £25k to £100k, debt finance from £100k to £2m and equity investment up to £5 million. It works alongside the various support and funding organisations from Welsh Government as well as local intermediaries such as accountants, fund managers and banks, to support Wales’ smaller businesses at all stages of their development.

The funds in which the IFW invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in all areas of Wales, including but not limited to North Eastern Wales, North Western Wales, Mid Wales, South West Wales and South East Wales.

Supported by Nations and Regions Investments Limited, a subsidiary of British Business Bank plc, the Bank is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. Neither Nations and Regions Investments Limited nor British Business Bank plc are authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

www.investmentfundwales.co.uk

About Foresight Private Equity

For close to four decades and through multiple economic cycles, Foresight has partnered with growth companies to achieve their ambitions, enable local economies to thrive and create the high-quality, sustainable jobs that will power tomorrow’s economy.

Across the UK and Ireland, Foresight’s Private Equity division supports companies with investments up to £10 million. Foresight Venture Capital invests into the most disruptive companies led by the most exciting entrepreneurs across deep tech, enterprise software and innovative technologies. It’s Growth and Buyout team invests up to £10 million to support founders and management teams with their growth ambitions or to enable equity release. Whilst its Private Credit team provides debt capital to alternative finance businesses that are providing bespoke financing solutions to sectors where traditional lenders are unable to support.

Located across the UK, Ireland, USA, UAE and Israel, Foresight’s Private Equity team combines its cross-sector expertise, international reach, and local and global connections, to provide operation insights, guidance and connections to the companies it supports.

About Foresight Group Holdings Limited

Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 400 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages eleven regionally focused investment funds across the UK and an SME impact fund supporting Irish SMEs. This team reviews over 3,000 business plans each year and currently supports more than 250 investments in SMEs. Foresight Capital Management manages four strategies across seven investment vehicles.

Foresight operates in eight countries across Europe, Australia and United States with AUM of £12.4 billion*. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021 and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. https://www.foresightgroup.eu/shareholders

*Based on unaudited AUM as at 31 December 2023.

About The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF)

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands.

The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The programme will continue to spend to the end of 2023.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

The Government has guaranteed all funding allocated through EU programmes until the end of 2020:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-from-eu-programmes-guaranteed-until-the-end-of-2020

The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit www.eib.org

The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands.