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Chair's report

Enabling potential

Our long-term vision is for more home-grown and fully funded, high-growth companies to fulfil their potential to be significant players on the global stage. By increasing the availability of patient capital to our high-growth businesses, we fuel innovation, heighten ambition and power economic growth.

As the newly appointed Chair of British Patient Capital, I’m pleased to present British Patient Capital’s second annual report.

Over the course of the year, we have significantly expanded the level of our commitments, up by more than £400m* in 2019/20, demonstrating the scale at which we can now deploy capital, and a reflection of the market opportunity. I’m especially pleased to report that our total commitments are now more than £1bn, from the £2.5bn of capital available to us. This is a landmark moment in the life of our business, establishing British Patient Capital as the largest domestic investor in UK venture and venture growth capital.

To achieve our vision, we also work to unlock more institutional funding. In addition to the £1bn of commitments that British Patient Capital has made, we have been joined by other institutions committing £4.8bn alongside us. This means £5.8bn of patient capital funding has been delivered to the market.

While it is still early in the life of British Patient Capital and also the funds to which we have made commitments, we have nonetheless achieved a positive return in 2019/20, due to assets transferred in at launch maturing and developments in the broader portfolio. Notwithstanding this positive return for the year, continuing economic uncertainty due to Covid-19 means that the long-term impact on our investment valuations are not yet fully discernible.

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Total commitments to date

Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

As a result of the sudden disruption caused by Covid-19, we have been particularly keen to reassure our fund managers and the market in general of our continued desire to make commitments. We have engaged heavily with our fund managers and have been impressed by the frequency and quality of that dialogue, as our fund managers have risen to the numerous challenges arising from the impact of Covid-19.

The commitment and responsiveness of our team throughout this very challenging period has also been outstanding. I am truly thankful to everyone for their professionalism, dedication and flexibility.

The Board

As well as Keith Morgan stepping down from his position as Chair of British Patient Capital on 1 September 2020, Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief Executive Officer, British Patient Capital, was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of our parent company, the British Business Bank, also effective from 1 September 2020.

Catherine remains on the British Patient Capital Board as an Executive Director, providing continuity and support. I would like to thank Keith and Catherine for their outstanding service and exemplary leadership. British Patient Capital’s success is their achievement, and they and all the team should be immensely proud.

Judith Hartley was appointed CEO of British Patient Capital on 1 September 2020. I look forward to working with Judith as we build our business, establish our track record and, at an appropriate time in the future, privatise British Patient Capital.

Looking to the future

While the impact of Covid-19 continues to severely affect many parts of the UK economy, the disruption may well accelerate the adoption of innovative new technologies, as society and the general economy move towards a new way of living and working.

With many world-class universities and a strong track record in science and research, the UK is well positioned to found and scale transformative companies based on digitisation, deep technology and life sciences.

With such strong fundamentals, I am optimistic about the future. I expect British Patient Capital to play an increasingly important role in supporting our innovative, fast-growth businesses. We have £1.5bn yet to commit and will continue to back best-in-class fund managers over the coming months and years. It is through this long-term, patient approach that we will enable the high-growth companies in our portfolio to achieve their full potential.

Russ Cummings

* All commitment figures include British Patient Capital and third-party mandates.

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