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Angel syndicate wants to invest in innovative Scottish firms

A NEW business angel syndicate says it is keen to get away from the Dragons' Den image which has grown around the sector in recent years.

Lancaster Capital Investments, founded by father and son Hector and Richard Cameron, has already attracted 35 investors since opening its doors to new members in February and is continuing to look for more people.

The Glasgow-based operation is being run on a not-for-profit basis and is aiming to concentrate on early stage technology firms across various sectors.

It does plan to operate on a typical private equity model and look for exits of between three and five years after the initial capital injection.

The Camerons have privately invested through other angel syndicates in the likes of life sciences firms i2Eye Diagnostics, Profactor Pharma and Taragenyx as well as smartphone antenna developer Sofant Technologies over the past few years.

They estimate they have put around £3.3 million into various businesses since the start of 2012.

Hector Cameron, chairman of Lancaster Capital, said: "We're passionate about providing investment to truly innovative Scottish companies developing products that we think will make a difference.

"This might be an innovation in medical science that saves lives or it might be new technology that solves a real problem and saves businesses time and money."

Mr Cameron indicated he is keen to move beyond the idea that in order to raise investment entrepreneurs have to face a hostile room full of people who are looking to knock down ideas.

He said: "The truth is that business angels contribute a significant amount of money to the economy every year and the number of business angels is growing.

"Many are entrepreneurs themselves who understand the difficulties of starting up a business.

"We are a young, forward-thinking syndicate and we want to help innovative people make their ideas a reality."

Mr Cameron said the syndicate is looking for novel technology, good management teams and businesses with global ambitions. Lancaster Capital has also recently appointed Stewart Whyte, previously a corporate partner at law firm McClure Naismith, to its executive team.

Mr Whyte said: "I've had a great deal of experience working with young companies and investor syndicates as a lawyer and I'm extremely excited to be part of Lancaster Capital where I can be more involved in the investment process and have more influence on these young businesses."

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