Vala is a venture capital group founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs. The members of Vala’s investment committee have invested in more than 50 companies, with 35 exits generating an overall return of 3x. The team founded Vala to offer clients the opportunity to invest alongside them, backing inspirational founders to build trailblazing businesses and generate significant returns.
Jasper Smith, Founder
Jasper has responsibility for our investment pipeline and the mentoring we provide to our portfolio. He has created, built and sold numerous companies in the media, technology and engineering sectors. Past ventures include Static2358, a design and digital media company; Electra Entertainment, an internet television technology platform; and PlayJam, a TV and mobile games network.
James Faulkner, Director
James manages our relationships with financial advisers. He has worked in sales and marketing for over 30 years, including roles with PwC, ABN Amro and Dun & Bradstreet. He is a Chartered Member of the CISI and holds the Level 4 Investment Advice Diploma.
Arthur Hughes, Investment Committee
Arthur spent ten years with investment and advisory firm Babcock & Brown, overseeing numerous debt and equity transactions. In 1991, he took over Prebon Yamane, a broking business, which he sold to Collins Stewart Tullett for £125m in 2004.
Paddy Willis, Investment Committee
Paddy was co-founder of Plum Baby, a range of organic baby foods. Launched in 2006, the company was sold to Darwin Private Equity just four years later, in a deal which valued it at £10m. Paddy later co-founded Grocery Accelerator, which has helped food and beverage start-ups raise more than £5m.
John Swingewood, Investment Committee
After senior leadership roles at BT and BSkyB, John has led several companies through significant growth and successful exits. He was Chairman at CENTRALNIC, which floated on AIM, and Chairman at DITG and Executive Chairman of Emizon, both of which were sold through trade sales.
We focus our investments on the sectors that we know best, where our expertise and networks can make a valuable impact on the progress of our portfolio companies. Our main fields of interest are digital media and entertainment, engineering, fintech, leisure, and food & beverages. This gives us wide spread of investments, ranging from disruptive technology to more traditional businesses. We invest in both pre-revenue and post-revenue companies, and we will make follow-on investments in companies that continue to hit their agreed milestones.
Some examples from our current portfolio include:
Arksen is developing innovative semi-autonomous explorer yachts for pleasure, research and commercial uses. The company has also created an innovative ownership model, and it plans to make a major contribution to marine conservation and education efforts around the world.
PlayWorks creates games and video content channels accessed through TV streaming devices (e.g. Roku) and connected TVs, as well as developing games for the burgeoning instant messaging market.
Great British Biscotti Company’s biscuits are stocked in a wide range of stores, including John Lewis cafés and Asda supermarkets. Further supermarket deals are in the pipeline, and the company is also expanding in the luxury hotel sector.
We invest in regular tranches, creating two big advantages for investors. Firstly, their capital is fully deployed into EISqualifying companies soon after they subscribe. Secondly, investors are able to see information about the companies would likely be included in their portfolio, before they commit to making an investment.
All our investments are selected and mentored by a group of serial entrepreneurs – individuals with real experience of the ups and downs of growing and selling successful businesses.
We believe in fair and transparent fees. We charge no initial or annual management fees to investors. Our costs are covered by a 6% fee charged to investee companies, and we earn a performance fee of 20% of profits from successful exits.
The Vala EIS Portfolio is an evergreen fund, targeting a return of 2x the amount invested. Subscriptions are typically diversified across a portfolio of 6 to 10 companies, with a blend of new and follow-on investments. We only invest in companies that have received Advance Assurance of EIS qualification from HMRC, and our tranche-based approach means investors’ capital is generally deployed within 3-6 months of subscription.
Our next investment tranche is scheduled for before the end of the 2019/20 tax year, giving eligible investors the option to carry back tax reliefs to 2018/19.
Phone: 0203 9510590