Early-stage tech VC Forward Partners to go public in London

6 Jul 2021

Forward Partners founder and CEO Nic Brisbourne. Image: Forward Partners

The company, due to start trading in mid-July, also announced two new independent members for its board of directors.

London-based venture capital firm Forward Partners has announced its intention to go public on the London Stock Exchange’s sub-market for smaller companies, AIM.

The company, which was founded in 2013, focuses investment on high-growth, early-stage technology businesses based in the UK.

Forward Partners said that becoming a public company will enable the group to “progress its vision for the future of early-stage venture capital, by offering innovative funding options for founders alongside specialist support”.

In a public announcement, the company said that it expects to raise at least £25m through its sale of shares, with trading starting mid-July this year.

“We’ll be able to invest more, for longer, and to build new products and services founders really need,” said Nic Brisbourne, founder and CEO of Forward Partners.

“For founders, it means more routes to growth – more choice, more control and more support. For investors, direct access to fast-growing, innovative tech businesses through a well-established, well-managed and balanced portfolio.”

That portfolio includes AI-powered legal outsourcing solution Lexoo, global payments platform Apexx and essentials-focused e-commerce company Cherryz.

Focusing on UK-based businesses, particularly those in e-commerce and applied AI, Forward Partners’ present portfolio is valued at more than £103m.

Brisbourne was previously a partner at publicly listed VC firm Draper Esprit, which itself is aiming to raise £111m by opening its doors to retail investors via PrimaryBid.

Forward Partners’ IPO fundraise will also include a retail offer through PrimaryBid, a tech platform that gives non-institutional investors access to public companies raising capital via the London Stock Exchange.

As a VC firm, Forward Partners offers three services to help founders meet specific strategic goals: Forward Ventures, Forward Advances and Forward Studios.

“Our big differentiator has always been that we offer start-ups more than money. The combination of capital alongside specialist support for our start-ups has helped us to improve the odds of success for more pioneering founders,” said Brisbourne.

Forward Partners also announced that Susanne Given and Christopher Smith will join the firm’s board of directors as independent, non-executive members.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic