Apple pioneer Wozniak teams up with Mone in venture fund

Doug Barrowman, Michelle Mone,Steve Wozniak pic EquiGlobalGame changers: Doug Barrowman,  Steve Wozniak and Lady Mone


Apple Computer tycoon Steve Wozniak has confirmed that he is joining Baroness Michelle Mone and her partner Doug Barrowman as a co-founder of Equi Global, the venture capital tech innovator.

Equi Global has set set itself up as “a unique opportunity to disrupt the venture capital industry” by combining the conventional principles of investing with a blockchain ‘back end’ that allows value to be realised and then traded in the open market through the EquiToken.

Mr Wozniak’s involvement has raised eyebrows across the business sector, particularly in view of recent developments at what he calls “something very special”. In September Equi canned its initial coin offering (ICO) after failing to get enough investment amid a row over how much the people who had been promoting it should be paid.

As co-founder of Equi Global Mr Wozniak, who set up Apple with Steve Jobs, will head up technology investments and “help find the tech stars of tomorrow”, according to a press release. He will introduce them to a board of serial entrepreneurs who will mentor and coach them.

The Equi fund is both open-ended and liquid, allowing investors the opportunity to sell their EquiTokens on external cryptocurrency exchanges at a time of their choosing. Investors can buy into the fund and then trade out through the liquidity created by the EquiToken.

The company claims it is “a potential game-changer in the venture capital industry and a model that many others are expected to follow.”

Up to 80% of investment by Equi will be in technology companies with the balance being in assets such as real estate and investment collectibles, such as art and vintage cars.

Mr Wozniak said: “I get ideas pitched to me every single day in fact dozens and I always say no. Since I co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, this is about the second time in twenty years that I actually said yes, I want to be a part of this. It has to be something I really believe in, and I really believe in Equi.

“I know that we have something very special with Equi..and will very much be an actively involved proud co-founder.”

He continued: “I am very pleased that my business partners are the respected Michelle and Doug. They are both very determined people who have both achieved what few people can do.

“In the case of Michelle she has succeeded well against the odds, she started her own business at just 24 and turned it into a global brand of huge stature which she sold four years ago.


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“Michelle has also invested wisely in the tech space and understands the significance of blockchain technology and how it will radically change business. She has multiple business interests and is one of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs. Her creativity and drive is brilliant for business because she brings diversity to the table. HM The Queen of The United Kingdom has even recognised her achievements.

“Doug is a highly accomplished businessman and is also a problem-solver, thanks to his highly attuned analytical skills.

“Last year Doug successfully launched the world’s first large-scale property development, available for sale in Bitcoin. I greatly admire Michelle and Doug for their huge accomplishments.”

Mr Wozniak added: “We are the teachers and I believe in that so strongly because, Apple was strongly mentored.

‘The enjoyment we had, the passion, starting the company, the excitement, it’s the most exciting thing. I like to see it happen for others and just to be a part of being able to help make it happen for a lot of others out there is going to be a big deal for me. I think I have an important role and I can help a lot.

“We’ve already got over 20 businesses that we are looking at and we haven’t even officially launched yet.  It’s going to be very exciting. Ultimately, our mission is to seek, support and fund the blockchain and tech stars of tomorrow. Equi Global is a game-changer.”

The company claims it will be able to attract the budding start-up stars of tomorrow (not just start-ups) on a growth trajectory – “the new Apples and Facebooks of the world – before they become famous.”

Lady Mone said: “Woz has always been my business icon and it’s a dream come true to be working with him at EQUI.”


Apple pioneer Wozniak teams up with Mone in venture fund was originally published on Daily Business


Ageing population drives venture capital to health sector

Chris McCann and Stewart Whiting

Chris McCann and Stewart Whiting of Snap40 who raised £6.1m in seed funding


Healthcare is heading a list of sectors attracting investment from venture capital providers as an ageing population demands more drug development, technology and facilities.

Scottish companies raised £42million in the third quarter – more than double the amount raised in the previous quarter (£21million) – with £35.8m raised for healthcare projects.

Standout deals in Scotland included £18m raised by Edinburgh-based DYSIS Medical, a developer of medical equipment, and £8.54m by Care Sourcer, a care provider comparison site.

The Scottish trend mirrors the UK-wide and global story, which saw healthcare and biotechnology driving some of the quarter’s top investment deals, as recorded by KPMG’s Venture Pulse report. 

These included London-based gene therapy developer, Orchard Therapeutics (£112m), and drug developer Artois at £65m. Globally, healthcare companies raised £14.5 billion in the third quarter of 2018.


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In total, £1.4bn of venture capital was invested in UK businesses in the last three months.

James Kergon, head of deal advisory for KPMG in Scotland, said: “The summer is usually quite a quiet period for investment, yet Scotland has continued to attract investors, particularly in the healthcare sector.

“Scotland’s healthcare companies, both large and small are thriving, and as the UK’s population continues to grow older, drug development and biotechnology will continue to be a safe bet for investors.

‘Start-ups fared particularly well, with early-stage financings accounting for £16m of investment, including a remote patient monitoring developer, Snap40, raising £6.1m in its seed round.

“This is particularly encouraging for Scotland as we prepare to leave the EU, and while investors will be keeping a close eye on negotiations in the coming months, shows confidence in Scotland’s economy and its ability to remain at the forefront of technological developments.”

Ageing population drives venture capital to health sector was originally published on Daily Business

EnerMech in £450m sale to US asset manager Carlyle Group

Doug Duguid

Doug Duguid: ‘positive news for staff and clients’


Engineering company EnerMech Group has been acquired from Lime Rock Partners by global alternative asset manager and Nasdaq listed Carlyle Group in a deal believed to be in the region of £450 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the final months of this year, subject to customary anti-trust and regulatory approvals.

Capital for the investment will come from Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), a $2.5 billion fund that invests in the global oil and gas sector outside North America. The fund’s mandate includes exploration and production, mid- and downstream and oilfield services.

EnerMech, a mechanical and electrical services specialist based in Aberdeen, employs 3,500 staff across 40 locations in the UK, Norway, the Middle East, Caspian, Asia, Africa, Australia and Americas.

The company works on large scale projects across the oil and gas, LNG, renewables, defence, power, infrastructure and petrochemicals sectors. 

Last month EnerMech revealed annual revenue for the year to December 2017 of £361m and ebitda of  £43.6m. It forecast that 2018 revenues are expected to reach £430m with profits in the region of £59m.

The company was formed 10 years ago by chief executive Doug Duguid and chief financial officer Michael Buchan, both of whom will remain with the company in their current positions.


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Mr Duguid said the deal was positive news for staff and clients and said newly available capital would lead to further acquisitions which will strengthen EnerMech’s services portfolio and geographic presence.

He said: “This transaction marks the beginning of a new chapter for EnerMech as we continue to develop our business, grow our global footprint and enter new markets. We are excited to be partnering with CIEP, whose expertise and track record in the energy space will provide valuable support for our strategy and next phase of growth. 

“We are very pleased with the strong support we have enjoyed from Lime Rock over the last decade in building a thriving and sustainable business.

“This transaction is a natural progression in the life of any ambitious company and with the backing of Carlyle Group, which enjoys extensive relationships in the upstream and downstream sectors, we will be focussed on doubling the size of the business in the next five years.

“Our strategic diversification in to large scale infrastructure projects and new geographic markets, allied to our lengthy track record in energy and the renewed confidence in that sector, were significant drivers in attracting a heavyweight investor such as Carlyle Group. 


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“For our staff and clients, it is very much business as usual, with the caveat that we will be identifying target businesses which will strengthen our integrated offering and introduce increased efficiencies for our end-users.”

This acquisition is CIEP’s first investment in an energy services business, complementing its current portfolio of investments in exploration, midstream and downstream and storage sector companies.

Marcel van Poecke, head of Carlyle International Energy Partners, said: “EnerMech is an attractive, well-positioned international integrated energy, infrastructure and industrial services company, led by a strong team.

“The company has multiple avenues for growth. We believe potential synergies across CIEP’s portfolio companies as well as the broader Carlyle family are attractive. We look forward to working with the team and supporting EnerMech’s continued growth.”

John Reynolds, co-founder and managing director of Lime Rock Partners, said: “We have greatly valued our partnership with Doug Duguid, Michael Buchan, and the entire EnerMech team as we supported the business’s growth and transformation since inception. We are confident that the company will continue to thrive under Carlyle’s ownership.”

EnerMech in £450m sale to US asset manager Carlyle Group was originally published on Daily Business

Big Data to extend global customer base after Incremental deal

Neil Logan and Peter Ellen

Neil Logan, CEO Incremental Group, Peter Ellen, CEO Big Data for Humans


A Scottish customer insights company has forged a strategic partnership with a data science firm to enable it to extend its reach to global retail and travel companies.

Big Data for Humans will use its link up with Incremental Group to scale up its intelligence on customer behaviour, used by companies such as AirAsia, 7-Eleven and Selfridges.

Peter Ellen, CEO at Big Data for Humans, said: “With new clients like Molton Brown and Mountain Warehouse coming on board in recent weeks, we are seeing an increasing appetite to put customers at the centre of digital transformation strategies.”

Neil Logan, CEO of Incremental Group, which has close links to Scottish academic institutions, said: “We currently work with a number of organisations across both the public and private sectors to solve problems with data science.

“Our strategic partnership with Big Data for Humans will provide them with scale, flexibility and expertise they need to meet increasing demand as they enter this new phase of growth, whilst extending our reach into the travel and retail sectors.”

AirAsia, the world’s fourth largest low-cost airline, is both client and investor in Big Data for Humans, with the group’s founder and CEO Tony Fernandes sitting on the board of the Edinburgh based company.

Mr Fernandes said: “We know data is the new oil, but to empower management there’s a huge, very difficult process needed to refine vast data lakes.

“We invested in Big Data for Humans because they are world class at turning data into actionable insight”.

AirAsia is incubating its relationships with world class start-ups as part of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.

Big Data for Humans caught the eye of the company in 2015 after graduating from the Techstars programme, a start-up incubator, with more than 300,000 alumina.

Big Data to extend global customer base after Incremental deal was originally published on Daily Business

Ardgowan unveils revamped distillery design

Ardgowan Distillery

New look: distillery will produce a million litres a year


Ardgowan Distillery has revealed new designs for its £12 million plant being built on the Ardgowan Estate 30 miles west of Glasgow.

The Michael Laird Architects designed building at Inverkip has recently secured revised planning consent from Inverclyde Council.

It will sit alongside the distillery’s visitor centre which will be housed in existing buildings on the Bankfoot site. 

Chief Executive Martin McAdam said: “This is a state-of-the-art, modern distillery which not only looks fantastic, but will reduce our environmental impact wherever possible.

“Our architects have worked closely with civil engineers Blyth & Blyth and process designers Briggs of Burton to create a striking distillery which fits well in the landscape and uses heat recovery and closed loop cooling to reduce energy use and water consumption, whilst the extensive use of glass means visitors will get a clear view of the bright airy interior.”

The distillery initially expects annual output of a million litres which can be doubled in an already-approved second phase.

McAdam says the stills will be supplied by a Scottish firm and that building contract discussions are under way. It is also understood that the company is in advanced discussions with a keystone investor.

Last month the distillery released its first whisky, a 600-bottle run of Ardgowan Expedition 20-year-old, a premium blend of malts containing whisky which has been to the South Pole.

The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock.

After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirt and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941.


Ardgowan unveils revamped distillery design was originally published on Daily Business

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant with her first child, Kensington Palace has announced

Prince Harry heads to Social Bite with Meghan Markle 130218

Meghan and Harry in Edinburgh earlier this year (pic: Terry Murden)


News of the Duchess of Sussex’s pregnancy was confirmed as she accompanied Harry, Duke of Sussex, on the first day of their tour of Australia.

They arrived into a rain-hit Sydney for the start of a 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

The trip, their first outside the UK and Ireland, will officially begin tomorrow and will see the couple watch the Invictus Games, visit a Sydney zoo and visit the rural Flying Doctor service.

The 76 engagements also include visits to schools, the Sydney Opera House, and meeting young leaders and community members at Government House.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant with her first child, Kensington Palace has announced was originally published on Daily Business

Israeli fund Migdal pursuing £60m deal for Tanfield


Tanfield: new owner on cards


Israeli fund Migdal is believed to be in talks about the £60 million acquisition of a business centre in Edinburgh which is home to some of the city’s top companies.

Daily Business has learned that the Jerusalem-based insurance and pensions group wants to purchase the Tanfield development in Canon Mills.

It is the headquarters of listed software company Craneware and the fintech business FNZ which has just been acquired in a £1.65bn deal. 

It is also a base for Avaloq,,, Dell and Anytime Fitness. The centre is now fully occupied.

Migdal has been providing a wide variety of insurance, pensions and financial asset management services for more than 80 years. It was quoted on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 1996.

Tanfield was formerly key offices for Standard Life and incorporates the facade of Tanfield Hall, site of the first Free Church assembly in 1843.



Israeli fund Migdal pursuing £60m deal for Tanfield was originally published on Daily Business

CYBG-Virgin shares begin trading on stock exchange

Virgin Money flag 2

Virgin: aquired in June (pic: Terry Murden)


Shares in the newly-combined CYBG and Virgin Money bank begin trading on the London Stock Exchange today following the £1.7bn merger of the companies.

CYBG, the owner of Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, announced an all-share offer to buy Virgin Money in June.

Virgin Money shareholders will receive 1.2125 new CYBG shares for every Virgin Money share held and will own about 38% of the merged business.

Jim Pettigrew, chairman of CYBG, said: “I am delighted we have completed the acquisition of the Virgin Money business.

“It is clear to us that the combined group can transform the UK banking landscape and offer real benefits to customers and communities throughout the UK.

“Since our IPO in 2016, the CYBG board and leadership team has established CYBG as a strong and sustainable business, with a track record of delivery and the credentials to deliver a transformational combination with Virgin Money. This transaction can deliver real value for all shareholders and create a powerful force in UK banking.”

The combined group has more than six million customers, c.£84 billion of assets and c.£70 billion of customer loans, including c.£58bn of mortgages – double the size of any other challenger bank.

As previously announced, CYBG CEO David Duffy will assume the role of chief executive and Ian Smith, current CYBG chief financial officer will retain the same position.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, former chief executive of Virgin Money will be stepping down as CEO, but has agreed in principle to support the group as a senior adviser to David Duffy for a period of up to 18 months.  

The remaining CYBG leadership team members will continue in their current roles and will be joined by Peter Bole and Hugh Chater from the Virgin Money executive team.  

Mr Bole, formerly CFO of Virgin Money, will assume the role of group integration director with responsibility for leading the delivery of the integration programme across both businesses.

Hugh Chater, managing director, core bank of Virgin Money, will join the CYBG leadership team and be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Virgin Money business in support of David Duffy as CEO.

See also:

Shareholders back Clydesdale Virgin merger

Virgin chief in line for big pay-off in CYBG takeover


CYBG-Virgin shares begin trading on stock exchange was originally published on Daily Business

Forbes heads to Dublin for Scots-Irish ‘cluster’ talks

Kate Forbes, SNP digital minister

Kate Forbes: travels to Ireland (pic: Terry Murden)


Scottish minister Kate Forbes will travel to Ireland this week for talks aimed at building a new cross-border financial and technology corridor after Britain leaves the EU.

Ms Forbes will address hundreds of senior investment management executives at the PwC EMEA Asset Management Conference in Dublin on Friday.

While there she will also meet representatives of Ireland’s financial industry and the Irish Government.

The aim of the visit, which has been organised in conjunction with the Scottish Irish Finance Initiative (SIFI), is to encourage cooperation, particularly within the funds industry, between Scotland and Ireland, enabling companies to trade effectively after Brexit and to help younger financial businesses to grow.

Edinburgh fund manager Baillie Gifford and Standard Life Aberdeen are among financial firms setting up offices in Dublin to manage business post-Brexit.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has addressed business and political leaders in the Republic as part of a process of maintaining good trading links.

SIFI was set up last year in the belief that through collaboration the two countries could grow their finance industries more effectively than they could by acting alone and Brexit has given an extra urgency to the talks.

The initiative’s ultimate ambition is to create a new type of cluster that straddles borders and establishes a finance/fintech corridor stretching across Scotland and Ireland. 

Scotland has more than £800 billion of assets under management while Ireland is one of Europe’s biggest fund servicing centres with about £4 trillion of assets under administration. 

The visit follows a trade mission by Irish Minister Heather Humphreys to Scotland last month where she spoke to a combined meeting of Irish fintech companies and Scottish asset managers.

David Clarke, founder and policy director of SIFI (pictured), said: “With Scottish asset managers, banks and insurers braced for barriers being erected between them and the lucrative EU market it’s critical for them to know that Ireland provides a receptive base for their European operations.

“Likewise for Irish and international businesses based in Ireland looking to sell into the UK post-Brexit there is a centre of financial expertise with critical mass and a receptive pro-European culture only a 40 minute flight away.   

“The raison d’être however is much broader than present political considerations, with the global finance industry facing a range of competitive and regulatory hurdles over coming years, as exemplified in the growth of fintech.

“Both countries have been successful to date on their own terms. In the future both will be challenged by regional and not national industry hubs.

“If Irish and Scottish businesses and policy makers by working together can bring more high-value jobs into our economies and spread even more wealth throughout our communities, we have an obligation to grasp this opportunity. 

“This has been the core focus of our work to date and very much on the table in the series of meetings this week.”

Forbes heads to Dublin for Scots-Irish ‘cluster’ talks was originally published on Daily Business

Brexit deal doubts ‘will slow UK growth over two years’

scottish economyAn economics research group has trimmed its GDP growth forecast for both 2018 and 2019 for the second successive quarter as the UK stumbles over a Brexit deal.

The EY Item Club said its downgrading reflects increased uncertainties currently facing the outlook due to the elevated risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal in March 2019, recent faltering consumer purchasing power, and a clear loss of economic momentum in the eurozone over the first half of 2018 as well as an uncertain global trade outlook. 

Its Autumn Forecast expects UK GDP to grow by 1.3% in 2018 (downgraded from 1.4% and 1.6% in the EY ITEM Club’s Summer and Spring Forecasts respectively), and 1.5% in 2019 (downgraded from 1.6% and 1.7% in the EY ITEM Club’s Summer and Spring Forecasts respectively).

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club comments: “Our forecast is based on the assumption that the UK and EU will ultimately agree a Brexit transition arrangement that will help limit the shock to businesses and the economy.

“However, heightened uncertainties in the run-up to and the aftermath of the UK’s exit could fuel business and consumer caution. This is a significant factor leading us to trim our GDP forecasts for 2018 and 2019. 

“Should the UK leave the EU in March 2019 without any deal, the near-term growth outlook could be significantly weaker. Trade could be substantially affected as barriers, both tariff and non-tariff, kick in. A likely sharp drop in the pound could provide help to UK exporters, but it would also push up businesses’ costs. Consumer price inflation would also likely increase thereby weighing down on households’ purchasing power.

“However, it is also possible that the growth pattern could be distorted in late-2018 and 2019 if concerns about supply disruptions in the event of ‘no-deal’ cause companies to stockpile materials and finished products. This could be reinforced if consumers panic buy. This scenario would be liable to boost growth in late-2018 and early-2019 but weigh down on growth thereafter.”


Brexit deal doubts ‘will slow UK growth over two years’ was originally published on Daily Business