By Karen Peattie

AN Aberdeen investment syndicate has invested over £2 million in Scottish companies and leveraged a further £40m through its co-investment partnership with Scottish Enterprise and other private equity and venture capital sources since it was formed just three years ago.

Alba Equity, established in 2019 by John Duncan and Jock Gardiner, typically invests between £100,000 and £500,000 in firms with high growth potential. In addition to providing capital, the investment vehicle brings the “experience, expertise and connections of its members to support the growth of its investee companies”.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and economic turmoil in the last three years, we’ve now invested in eight Scottish companies, with five of these securing one or more follow-on round of investment to accelerate their growth,” said Mr Gardiner.

“During this time, we’ve reviewed over 300 proposals and typically have around five qualified opportunities at various stages, at any one time, in our pipeline. While we primarily work with start-up and early-stage companies, we will also consider more mature businesses which require funding to develop new products or markets.”

Alba Equity has strong connections with other angel investment groups and, in most cases, will work alongside one or more to increase access to funding and expertise. Investment so far has helped to create about 100 “high-paid, Scottish-based jobs”.

Alba Equity’s syndicate has over 60 members, primarily businessmen and women based in north-east Scotland who have successfully built and sold businesses and are looking to create a diversified investment portfolio of businesses.

The portfolio comprises Cumulus Oncology, Trojan Energy, Sentinel Subsea and, most recently, Leap Automation. “There was a gap in the availability of funding of this type in north-east of Scotland, which we are helping to close,” Mr Gardiner noted.