First Minister announces Scottish risk capital market heading for new heights

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced the findings of a report published by Scottish Enterprise, revealing that risk capital investment in Scotland was up 20% to £244m in 2014. The results represent a five-year growth of 90%, approaching the highest recorded level of £250m back in 2001.

The announcement was made during a visit to London where the First Minister has a programme of high level business engagements alongside Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive, Dr Lena Wilson.

Around 80 prominent delegates from the London and Scottish business communities gathered at the London Stock Exchange to hear the First Minister talk about Scotland’s globally competitive economy and what makes it such a desirable investment location.

The day started with the First Minister opening trading at the London Stock Exchange.

The Risk Capital Market in Scotland (2014) commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and undertaken by Young Company Finance, also found that 2014 was a record year for business angel investment in Scotland, in terms of both the overall amount of investment (£26m) and the number of new companies receiving investment (31).

The report, the latest in a series from Scottish Enterprise, aims to provide comprehensive analysis of the early stage risk capital market in Scotland.

Key findings from the 2014 report include:

  • While not unique to Scotland, 2014 was characterised by a number of very large investments, with the top three deals accounting for 34% of total investment.
  • Encouragingly more companies continue to secure later stage investment above £2m. In 2014 there were 66 investment deals in which international VCs and other institutional investors participated, compared with 37 in 2013 and 38 in 2012. International investors in 2014 included Sofinnova Ventures, Morningside Ventures, and IKEA Greentech.
  • While investment into existing investee companies continued to grow, investors are also backing new ventures: 52 companies received investment for the first time during 2014, compared with 41 in 2013 and 30 in 2012.
  • The ICT and Life Sciences companies attracted the highest overall amounts of investment, illustrating the strength of these sectors in Scotland.

Commenting on the report the First Minister said: “These figures show that Scotland continues to be a great place to invest and confidence in our ambitious industries is growing.

We have established ourselves as the most prosperous part of the UK outside of London and the south east - but London is still a key driver to help growing our business north of the border."

Jonathan Harris, editor of Young Company Finance and director of Research and Communications at LINC Scotland, added: “Levels of investment in early stage companies are very volatile – not just in Scotland, but worldwide – and the totals are highly influenced by a relatively small number of high value deals. However, the underlying trends in Scotland are up across the board, and have been so for some time. This gives hope that Scotland’s young companies will continue to be able to access a widening range of funding sources, offering finance in all market sectors and at various stages of company development.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Having a strongly performing risk capital market in Scotland helps companies to grow to a level where they can attract international investment to successfully compete in global markets. This report illustrates the importance of supporting young, growth-oriented Scottish companies, and to ensure we maintain a healthy risk capital market, we are proactively seeking new investment partners to co-invest in the next generation of ambitious Scottish companies.”

Notes to editors

To access a copy of the report, please visit:

Contact Information

Sarah Cross

0141 228 2308

07947 334588