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Strategic report

Investment themes and case studies

A focus on innovation

British Patient Capital is invested in 503 portfolio businesses through our portfolio of fund managers. Through our capital we are helping build the next generation of global tech leaders.

Although we are not prescriptive about sectors for our investment, from our vantage point we see trends emerging across the portfolios of our venture and venture growth partners. Within these portfolio themes we are now starting to see companies moving well into the growth stage of their journey.

By looking at the individual businesses within our portfolio we have identified eight key themes.

Underlying companies by theme - 31 March 2020 (%)

07 BBB BCP Underlying companies by theme Chart

Future of work and education

Given the current disruption due to Covid-19, many companies are exploring new ways of working, using technology to enable remote engagement. We see this as a long-term trend; today’s employees are increasingly demanding agility and flexibility from their employers. Companies in this category are providing tools to facilitate remote working, learning and collaboration.

Successful companies, from SMEs to multi-nationals, are constantly working to improve their processes and efficiency; this theme also includes the companies providing the next generation of enterprise tools giving businesses the information they need to innovate, improve and grow.

Finally, technology such as cloud computing has been a driver of change in multiple industries over the last decade. This theme also includes companies that support others with that transition, providing tools that enable workers in traditionally low-tech industries to use technology efficiently and effectively.

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Case Study


Fund Manager: Scottish Equity Partners

Dotmatics is a leading scientific informatics subscription software and services (SaaS) company, with a mission to give scientists access to all of their data, all of the time. By driving the automation of laboratory workflows for discovery and innovation research, it is accelerating the journey towards full digitalisation and the, ‘Lab of the Future’.

Having grown organically and established itself as a key player within the Discovery Science market, the company was keen to accelerate product innovation and strengthen operations across key geographies. SEP was an ideal partner to help it do this, with a clear understanding of the sector and significant experience of scaling SaaS businesses internationally.

Since SEP’s growth equity investment, the firm has continued to develop its chemistry solutions, further expanded into biologics and made strategic hires in application science, product development and professional services. In the first 12 months after investment, headcount increased from 90 staff to over 150. Systems and processes have been upgraded to give operational scalability.

SEP’s network also helped the company add to its international and operational capabilities at Board level, introducing a Non-executive Chairman, a Non-executive Director, and a Chief Financial Officer. These appointments have brought a depth of experience in scaling life sciences focused software companies, helping to refine the company’s international growth strategy and build on its expanding base of 400 global customers.

SEP supported in the evaluation of acquisition opportunities and in 2020 Dotmatics acquired US-based BioBright, furthering its mission to deliver the ‘Lab of the Future’, and enabling scientists to make decisions aided by next-generation AI and Machine Learning.

In 2019, Dotmatics won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.

Digital health and life sciences

While medical science has made huge advances in the past century, many challenges remain. Companies in this category are often on the cutting edge of the latest global research. Many are leveraging the UK’s leading position in life sciences research, and developments in fields such as precision medicine to find better treatments for rare or previously untreatable diseases. The race to find a vaccine for Covid-19 has heightened attention not only on the companies directly addressing this challenge, but also on the sector as a whole.

This category is not limited to new therapeutics; some companies are using technology in innovative ways to devise new solutions or improve the efficacy of existing treatments.

The latest innovation is useful only if it is accessible. Other companies in this category are using technology to improve access to medicine for people around the globe, helping to ensure that the right treatment is available for those that need it the most.

The race to find a vaccine for Covid-19 has heightened attention not only on the companies directly addressing this challenge, but also on the sector as a whole.

Case Study

Push Doctor

Fund Manager: Draper Esprit

Manchester-based Push Doctor wants to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for patients and clinicians alike. Patients are able to book an appointment online, or through the app, and be seen by an online doctor whenever they feel comfortable, whenever suits them.

As the largest NHS digital partner, and with Covid-19 having a huge impact on patients being seen within the NHS, Push Doctor is in a strong position to support the NHS during the pandemic and beyond.

Financing has allowed Push Doctor to expand its digital proposition within the UK and invest in creating new products to support the NHS, bringing further efficiency to the sector. The sector is moving extremely quickly towards digital, and it is crucial this is done safely. Push Doctor is passionate about creating the gold standard for this.

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Marketplaces and consumer

Today’s customers are faced with an abundance of choice and information. Companies that our portfolio managers back are working to provide tools to make sense of vast volumes of information, helping customers to make better decisions.

Companies in this category are innovating entirely new products and consumer verticals or creating new consumer habits through social networks.

Retail is also undergoing transformative change as consumer habits and tastes evolve. British Patient Capital portfolio companies in this category include those using technology to provide customers with a personalised, seamless and convenient shopping experience, either as part of their own retail offering or by providing infrastructure to enable others to serve the needs of their customers.

Companies in this category are innovating entirely new products and consumer verticals or creating new consumer habits through social networks.

Case Study


Fund Manager: Kindred Capital

Farewill’s mission is to change the way the world deals with death. It started by revolutionising the Wills market, and in the last year has expanded beyond this to offer probate services and fixed price cremations.

The company achieved this through a mix of partnerships, working with charities, retail banks, mortgage brokers and insurers, and building a strategy to win on both organic and paid search, across all products.

Kindred Capital led the first investment round to launch Farewill. Its technology allows the automation of a historically bureaucratic process, offers services for a fraction of the price of others, and focuses attention on delivering best-in-class, personal experiences for every customer. The financing round was instrumental in allowing Farewill to grow its team and develop the proprietary technology behind its platform.

The company now writes five times more wills than its closest competitor, has grown to be one of the UK’s largest funeral providers within eight months of launch, and has become the second-largest probate provider in the UK. With over 6,500 Trustpilot reviews at 4.9/5, it is the highest rated legal/financial services company in the world. In 2020, Farewill closed a £20m Series B round.

Revenue has grown by seven times over the last year, and the team has expanded from 55 to 98, and raised over £100m in pledged income for UK charities.

Over the coming 12-18 months, the company intends to broaden the reach of its services, expand its funeral offering, and develop telephone wills and telephone lasting Power of Attorney products.

Farewill sees a substantial and unusual opportunity to reimagine an industry for the better – to impact the lives of millions of people when they need it most and help to change the way the world deals with death.

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Big data and AI

As the world becomes increasingly connected, we produce exponentially more data. The successful companies of tomorrow will be those that are best placed to make sense of and, most importantly, make use of this data to drive innovation.

Using large datasets can reveal unseen patterns and trends and make better predictions. This often requires considerable computing resource as well as sophisticated interpretation techniques. Companies in this category are using real-time data from multiple sources, turning this into structured information providing actionable insight.

As this category evolves, we are increasingly seeing sector specialism, with AI/Machine Learning incorporated into regular workflows in some industries such as financial services and cybersecurity. At the same time, the sector continues to innovate, applying AI/Machine Learning to more difficult, qualitative datasets as the underlying technology improves.

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Case Study


Fund Manager: Balderton Capital

Cleo is on a mission to fight for the world’s financial health, by getting people to make strong money decisions. From day one. Through an AI-powered chatbot, Cleo provides deep, simplified insights about each customer’s money with a range of features such as spending trackers and budget setters.

Sitting above users’ bank accounts, and using a humorous, warm and friendly tone of voice, and by analysing spending patterns, it also gives advice on how to get specific goods and services at lower prices. Founded in 2016, London-based Cleo has now scaled to over 3 million users in the UK and North America.

Its financing, led by British Patient Capital partner Balderton Capital, has allowed Cleo to invest in staff to increase speed of development and drive greater growth for both free and subscription products. The financing has also enabled research into new innovative products, while giving the team the financial security to plan for the long term.

Future developments include supporting rapid growth in the US with the Cleo+ subscription service, and the launch of new credit products.


The UK has a deep background of expertise in financial services. When this is combined with technological innovation, we believe that UK companies are well placed to successfully provide the next generation of financial services for both consumers and enterprises.

While the sector is typically associated with neo banks and payment services, it is maturing and expanding, with companies in our portfolio sitting at the nexus of other investment themes such as Cybersecurity, Big data and AI and Marketplaces and consumer. Cleo profiled in this report as Big data and AI, is one example as it is also a fast growing consumer Fintech company.

Companies in this category are also providing back-end technology to improve the underlying infrastructure and legacy systems of established providers.

This category also includes those offering blockchain-related products and services, either for consumers looking to use blockchain currencies or to leverage the underlying technology to find innovative ways to provide financial services or infrastructure.

While the sector is typically associated with neo banks and payment services, it is maturing and expanding, with companies in our portfolio sitting at the nexus of other investment themes such as Cybersecurity, Big data and AI, and Marketplaces and consumer.

Case Study


Fund Manager: IQ Capital

Concirrus’s AI-powered platform – Quest – is used to predict and manage risk in the Specialty Insurance markets.

The insurance industry is being transformed by the availability of large amounts of data and the emergence of AI/Machine Learning which can be used to power a new class of risk assessment and risk management tools.

By using Quest products, insurers are able to improve the profitability of their book of business through enhanced risk selection, active risk management and accumulation management.

Concirrus saw an opportunity to lead the market by rapidly developing and launching the product, yet the investment required to do this exceeded the company’s own resources. Its Series B financing from British Patient Capital fund manager IQ Capital, and others, enabled the company to expand its sales and development, capturing a market opportunity that it can build on for years to come.

Concirrus has transformed from local niche business and is well on the way to becoming a global business leader. It now plans to expand into new geographies, with new products, and serve an increasingly wide set of insurance markets.

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Keeping companies, people and data secure is vital, and this security is constantly in danger of being undermined. As such, this category is growing fast, especially for those providing services to help companies adjusting to a digital, remote first world.

Successful companies in this category are agile and technologically advanced, using innovative techniques to fight back, such as AI/Machine Learning techniques, to provide real-time monitoring and identification of fraud, helping to keep data safe.

Case Study


Fund Managers: Balderton, Crane

Tessian’s software acts as in-the-moment remediation and training to make people the strongest defence against social engineering attacks, accidental data loss, and data exfiltration over email. By building the world’s first Human Layer Security platform, Tessian software is able to detect and protect in real time, and stop breaches before they happen

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in the UK, Tessian sought investment to accelerate the growth of the business from both a product and talent perspective. Equity finance allowed the firm to grow at an exceptional rate.

Headcount has grown from 4 to 150 in four years, with a team combining up-and-coming talent and experienced SaaS leaders. The firm has established itself in the US, expanded its product suite, and is on a glide path to becoming a UK tech unicorn.

In the last 12 months, Tessian has also attained various accolades, including listing as a Gartner Cool Vendor, a 451 Research Firestarter, and a Forrester Now Tech vendor for Enterprise Email Security.

Frontier tech

All our fund managers constantly invest in innovation as part of their work to find the next breakout company or category leader. Companies in this category go one step further, working on next-generation technology with the potential to transform major industries.

This theme covers broad fields, one of which is quantum computing. Companies in our underlying portfolio are working to harness this emerging technology through new software and algorithms.

Other companies in this category are developing the technologies of ‘Industry 4.0’, where intelligent machines will perform complex tasks without human intervention. There is enormous potential in these technologies at the very frontiers of innovation and we are excited to see what emerges in the coming years.

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Case Study


Fund Manager: Amadeus Capital

Riverlane develops software that transforms quantum computers from experimental technology into commercial products.

Finance was required primarily to grow its R&D team – recruiting quantum scientists and system-on-a-chip engineers – to accelerate product innovation. The firm made key senior hires to strengthen company operations and extend its networking reach in key markets.

By expanding its R&D team and engineering expertise, Riverlane has been able to develop Deltaflow.OS, seeking to become the dominant operating system for quantum computers. Riverlane’s technology aims to solve intractable problems that will change the way the chemical and pharmaceutical industry carries out R&D.

Clean growth, sustainability and mobility

Managing global growth in a sustainable way is the overarching challenge of our time, with governments across the globe committing to ambitious targets to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. While many companies across all investment themes are inherently working on sustainability through improving efficiency and productivity, this category includes all companies explicitly working to make economic growth sustainable.

Companies in our underlying portfolio are innovating in multiple sectors to find sustainable solutions, from agriculture to electric vehicles. Others are targeting changing consumer habits, reducing waste through reusing existing materials, or producing new, sustainable products and packaging.

Self driving image

Companies in this category, such as those providing the technology to enable autonomous vehicles, are also tackling the way we move through the world, enabling people to navigate modern urban environments efficiently, and in an environmentally friendly way.

Case Study


Fund Managers: Kindred Capital, Notion

Five is building technology so that self-driving vehicles can be developed and tested for safe use on public roads. It is one of a few companies across the globe that holds the keys to achieving safe self-driving in meaningful timeframes and affordable costs.

Founded in 2015, Five has developed a fully working reference software system and demonstrated its safety to members of the public on London’s complex streets. It has now incorporated its engineering and science insights into a cloud-based platform, in order to scale from prototype to production. Financing from British Patient Capital partner, Kindred Capital, among others, was the catalyst for this growth. It enabled Five to build a team of stellar engineers and computer vision experts, and to begin building its technology stack. Since then, Five has raised two further rounds of financing, including a $41m Series B round.

British Patient Capital partner, Notion, participated in both those rounds, alongside Kindred. The team of 135 computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists and roboticists are based in Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh, Oxford, London and Millbrook.

Generating revenues through a combination of usage-based subscription and licensing, over the next year the company will expand its commercial partnerships in the race to deliver safe self-driving vehicles.

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