We welcome Alexandra Lindsay, Investment Director at Calculus Capital Limited, a private equity company that focuses on EIS qualifying investments in more mature unquoted companies. As well as her role at Calculus, Alexandra sits on the board of a number of Calculus' investee companies across the healthcare and energy sectors.
Hello Alexandra, can you tell us about the current deal climate and the types of companies that you are seeing?
In 2015 we reviewed over 500 opportunities compared to some 300 in 2014 so there has been a definite increase in activity over the last 12 months. The opportunities come from a variety of sources including existing management teams, advisors, corporate finance houses and our personal networks. In 2014 software companies accounted for about a third of the companies that we saw; in 2015, along with technology companies, we saw an increase in healthcare opportunities. Of these opportunities about 25% progress further and we aim to make 8-10 new investments every year.
Calculus Capital has an excellent reputation within the EIS landscape. Can you tell us more about the types on companies that you invest in?
We are governed by EIS legislation which has recently gone through a number of changes. The rules are now more stringent on the age of the company and what purpose the funds will be used for. Although EIS allows us to invest in non-UK companies (albeit they have to have a presence in the UK), the vast majority of our investments are more mature unquoted UK companies with a strong management team looking for expansion capital. We are generalist investors but have some niche areas of interest such as Applied Software/Technology, Energy & Energy Services, Biotech & Healthcare and Travel & Leisure. We prefer companies that are generating regular recurring revenues and are profitable already or where a clear path to profitability has been identified. We typically invest £2-5 million per investee company for a significant minority stake.
Can you tell us more about some of your recent investments?
My two most recent investments have both been in the biotech/healthcare space. They include an Edinburgh based biotech company that specialises in synthetic promoters - within three months of our investment they landed a deal with a US based gene therapy company that has resulted in a $1.5m upfront payment along with the potential for milestone payments and future royalty streams; and a point of care diagnostics company with a contract research division based in Bedford - the CSO was the founder of the Clear Blue pregnancy test. I am currently looking at companies in the following areas: subsea wireless communications; gas detection and e-learning.
What is your background?
After completing A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry I went on to study Engineering Science at Wadham College, Oxford. After two years, much to my parents' dismay, I made a complete U-turn and left Oxford for UCL where I studied History of Art and Material Science. After leaving university with a first class degree I worked in operations for a luxury hotels marketing alliance before accidentally falling into a career in finance as a researcher for a US based private equity fund. I moved to Calculus as an analyst in November 2008 just as the financial crisis hit and worked my way up to investment director over the next 4 years. I have now been at Calculus for over 7 years and have seen the team grow from 5 to almost 20.
How do you balance work with commitments at home?
I have a 16 month old daughter and am expecting a new additional to the family in March. Calculus has been very supportive and I plan to take 20 weeks off as maternity leave. I am fortunate to have a husband whose primary focus at the moment is caring for our daughter which enables me to more easily manage the work/life balance. When I returned to work after the birth of my daughter I found that I had a renewed vigour for my work and was much more efficient.
What relationship have you had with Moon Consulting?
I met Vanessa in 2013 when we were recruiting a CFO for an oil services company based in Exeter and was very impressed by her knowledge and approach. We have used Moon Consulting more recently when we were searching for an interim MD for a niche building materials company based in Abingdon. On both occasions we were impressed by Moon and have been very happy with the candidates that they suggested and ultimately the candidates that were employed.
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