EU bank funnels £50M into Imperial Innovations as investment plan accelerates

Imperial Innovations (AIM:IVO) has returned to the European Investment Bank (EIB) for cash, signing off on a £50 million ($78 million) loan just two years after it tapped the same source for £30 million. The need to double-dip in the EIB funding font arose after Imperial Innovations stepped up its rate of investment.  

Imperial Innovations CEO Russ Cummings

Having taken out the loan facility, Imperial Innovations has two years to draw down the £50 million and 9 years from the date it first takes cash from the kitty to repay EIB. The pace of investment at Imperial Innovations over the past two years suggests it will find suitable recipients for the cash. When Imperial Innovations last turned to EIB for cash in July 2013, it expected to take four years to dole out the money. Exactly two years later, it is looking back on a period in which it pumped £62 million into 23 companies, 7 of which were first-time investments for Imperial Innovations.

The rate at which Imperial Innovations has been signing checks is a result of the growing financial needs of its portfolio and a belief that the United Kingdom is rich with investment opportunities. "We planned to commit this expenditure over a four year period, but we have been able to execute the plan in only two, by virtue of … the rich opportunities derived from our extensive network of academics, entrepreneurs, management teams and co-investors within the 'Golden Triangle' of London, Oxford and Cambridge," Imperial Innovations CEO Russ Cummings said in a statement.

Cell Medica and Veryan Medical were among the companies to benefit from Imperial Innovations' largesse in the first half of its 2015 financial year, a period in which it upped its investments by more than 25% year on year. The surge in the amount invested occurred despite a drop in the number of companies backed by Imperial Innovations, an inverse correlation that derives from its decision to keep backing a clutch of its leading portfolio companies as they grow and to take bigger stakes in the most promising new startups.

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