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Forward Partners Group PLC Interim Results

29/09/2021 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)


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RNS Number : 2903N

Forward Partners Group PLC

29 September 2021

Forward Partners Group plc

("plc", "Forward Partners", "Forward", "the Group" or the "Company")

INTERIM RESULTS COVERING THE SIX MONTHS TO 30 JUNE 2021

- including unaudited financial statements from 4 March 2021 for the newly incorporated Forward Partners Group plc

Forward Partners, the London-based venture capital firm specialising in supporting high growth, early-stage technology businesses, today announces its interim results for the period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

The Company was incorporated on 4 March 2021 and the Group was admitted to trading on AIM on 19 July 2021 ("Admission"). At 30 June 2021 the gross value of the Group's venture capital investment holdings before deductions for carry (the Ventures Portfolio Value) was GBP108.0m.

Financial highlights

-- Ventures Portfolio Value increase of GBP22.0m to GBP108.0m, including GBP3.5m of new investments during the period.

-- Growth in portfolio value - excluding new investments - of 21.5% of which 15.5% came in Q1 and 6.0% in Q2, exclusive of Forward Advances.

   --    Operating profit before tax for the period of GBP13.9m. 

-- NAV per share at 30 June was 104.1 pence (NAV per share of 83.3 pence as at 31 December 2020 on a pro forma basis).

-- Forward Advances gross IRR 39.6% on fully repaid Advances*. H1 originations of GBP3.6m, up 177% Q1 to Q2.

   --    Admitted to AIM on 19 July 2021 (post period end), raising GBP36.5m. 

Investment highlights

   --    10 investments made by Forward Ventures totalling GBP3.5m. 
   --    One new investment of GBP0.7m into Clustermarket. 
   --    Nine follow on investments totalling GBP2.8m. 
   --    45 Advances totalling GBP3.6m were made by Forward Advances. 

Post Admission highlights (19 July - 28 September 2021)

   --    Three exits post period end totalling GBP11.7m. 
   --    Trade sales of Heights and Wonderbly with total cash realisations of GBP5m. 

-- Cazoo SPAC merger resulting in holding valued at GBP6.7m (a GBP3.7m portfolio valuation uplift)**.

-- Investment of GBP1m into new portfolio company Ryde. Two further new deals have been completed.

   --    Forward Advances made 18 Advances with a value of GBP1.7m. 

Nic Brisbourne, CEO at Forward Partners, commented: "We have seen some excellent portfolio growth in the first half, both before and after the easing of the UK's pandemic related restrictions. That momentum has continued since our IPO in mid-July. We are particularly pleased with the strong growth our Advances business is achieving, as the appeal of revenue based financing accelerates for fast growing British SMEs.

"We are now focused on putting in place all the elements required to increase shareholder value, by strengthening our team and pipeline, whilst continuing to support our tech-enabled portfolio companies with the same level of care and attention. We have always favoured diversity of leadership within the firms we invest in, but we will be placing extra emphasis on this dynamic going forward. Not only is this the right thing to do, but we believe diversity delivers more resilient and creative companies, and ultimately superior long term returns for the Group and its shareholders."

The Company's Interim Report for the period ending 30 June 2021 is available on Forward Partners' website at http://forwardpartners.com/.

NOTES:

* Forward Advances gross IRR on fully repaid advances is high due to faster than expected repayments and low levels of defaults amongst early Advances customer cohorts. The Group expects this to trend down to 25% over time.

**Figures prepared on a pro forma basis excluding Forward Advances. Cazoo holding value based upon share price and GBP:USD exchange rate fixed at NYSE market open 09:30 UTC on 27 August 2021).

S

Enquiries

 
 FORWARD PARTNERS GROUP PLC                Via Maitland/AMO 
 Nic Brisbourne, Chief Executive Officer 
 
 
 Liberum Capital Limited 
 (Nominated Adviser and Broker)   Tel: +44 20 3100 2222 
 Neil Patel 
 Lauren Kettle 
 Edward Phillips 
 Cara Murphy 
 
 
 Maitland/AMO (Financial PR)   forwardpartners@maitland.co.uk 
 Sam Turvey                    Tel: +44 (0) 207 379 5151 
 

About Forward Partners

Founded in 2013, Forward Partners is an established and respected London-based venture capital firm, specialising in supporting high growth, early-stage technology businesses.

The Group brings together venture capital provider Forward Ventures, equity-free revenue-based financing through Forward Advances and highly specialised growth support from Forward Studio. This model supports founders to build stronger businesses faster to provide better outcomes for companies and investors alike.

The Group makes equity investments in early-stage, high growth UK companies, and from inception to its admission to London's AIM market in July 2021 had made over 60 unique investments and built a portfolio with an Initial Portfolio NAV in excess of GBP100m. It holds an eight-year track record of making venture capital investments, and targets underlying NAV growth of 20% per annum over the cycle.

The management team brings together highly experienced venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and expert consultants. Since 2015, Forward Partners has been backed by BlackRock, one of the largest institutional investors in the world. The Group receives over 4,000 start-up funding applications every year.

For more information, visit https://forwardpartners.com.

Strategic report

Overview

Welcome to Forward's maiden results review. These results detail an unusual period for us in the build up to an exceptional milestone for Forward - our admission to trading on the London Stock Exchange on 19 July 2021. As CEO and founding partner, it was the finale to the realisation of a long-held vision and the culmination of nearly three years of planning, leading up to our IPO. Despite the change in structure of the business, our mission remains the same: to build the UK's leading and most admired early-stage venture firm, delivering consistent net asset growth for our stakeholders.

To prepare for public life and a new tranche of funding, our strategy during this period was focused on increasing shareholder value. Our Studio Team worked with our Ventures and Advances portfolio companies to improve returns on both sides of our business, and we strengthened our Ventures investment team and pipeline in anticipation of a strong second half for new investments.

I'm pleased to highlight that we've continued to deliver great Ventures Portfolio Value growth - in excess of our 20% annualised-over-the-cycle objective. Momentum in the portfolio remains strong and we're confident we will continue to see good growth in H2. We have deployed capital through one new investment and a series of nine follow-ons through Forward Ventures and 45 Advances through Forward Advances. Deployments since Admission have been in line with expectations, and we saw three exits totalling GBP11.7m.

Strong portfolio momentum

Forward's investment strategy focuses on building a balanced portfolio of businesses that leverage eCommerce, digital marketplace and applied AI operating models. Despite an unpredictable year for many businesses - and widespread economic damage, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a transition to digital that has delivered benefits for many companies in our portfolio.

On admission, Forward's initial portfolio consisted of 46 active companies. Over 50% of the Group's Net Asset Value at Admission was in companies growing revenues at a rate of 100% or more per year. Forward Advances also continued to enjoy strong growth, as detailed below.

The Portfolio Value Table in the Interim Financial Review provides further detail on the movements in the portfolio.

Ventures deployments on track, Advances growth accelerates

Our pipeline is strong, and our investment plan is on track to deliver at least five new Ventures investments in the current financial year.

In the period from 1 January 2021 to Admission, we added Clustermarket, a SaaS-enabled marketplace for laboratories and equipment, following a GBP0.7m investment in June. We were also pleased to provide GBP2.8m in follow-on investments to portfolio companies including Ably, Uplearn and Koyo as part of larger rounds alongside other investors.

Forward Advances also made excellent progress throughout the period, increasing the total number of 'Advances' made quarter-on-quarter by 65% in Q2 alone, and seeing an increase in advance sizes to boost total originations by 177%. H1 gross IRR on fully repaid Advances was 39.6%, although as noted above we expect this to trend down to 25% over time. Default rates are on budget and below 1%.

Since our Admission in July, we have seen continuing momentum. In August we announced a GBP1m investment into Ryde, the on-demand delivery driver platform, as part of a high-profile GBP2.5m fundraise round alongside Triple Point and existing investors including Seedcamp.

We also reported the Group's first significant cash realisations. In August, we announced trade sales of Heights and Wonderbly totalling GBP5.0m cash, followed shortly after by Cazoo's SPAC merger that resulted in a holding valued at GBP6.7m consisting of cash and shares (based on the Cazoo Group Limited share price and a fixed GBP:USD exchange rate as at 09:30 UTC on 27 August 2021).

We expect to see this momentum continue as our portfolio matures with more exit opportunities for the Group in 2022 and beyond.

Preparing for long-term success

Forward Partners Group brings together venture capital provider Forward Ventures, equity-free revenue-based financing through Forward Advances and highly specialised growth support from Forward Studio.

We believe that by bringing these three offers together into one proposition we can provide better support to founders to build stronger businesses and meet strategic goals faster - ultimately aiming to provide better outcomes for companies and investors alike.

As we prepare for the future, we look to drive key outcomes for each business unit to deliver long-term outcomes for the Group.

-- Forward Ventures

To pave the way for further growth, Forward Ventures have focused through this period on supporting portfolio companies to grow through capital and support; strengthening our pipeline of high-potential deals, whilst maintaining strong discipline over our valuations process and methodology.

Key to our continuing success is our ability to generate deal flow and make wise investments. Our brand is in a strong position at the heart of an incredible technology ecosystem in London. In 2020, the Group reviewed in excess of 4,000 opportunities, held 445 first meetings and conducted detailed due diligence on 40 of the most promising opportunities. This ultimately led to five highly considered investments utilising our framework-driven approach to screening companies and founders.

We have a strong portfolio from which we will back the emerging winners as well as invest in new deal flow. With a stronger balance sheet, we expect to lead more deals and increase our average equity holding over time.

-- Forward Advances

We also see great potential for Forward Advances, our revenue-based financing business - now subsumed as a subsidiary of the Group following our IPO restructuring. Advances is deploying capital into the expanding market of high-growth digital SMEs at a rapidly accelerating rate. The team is growing a pipeline of high quality leads from existing and from new channels - including through brokers for the first time in this period. Discipline, rigour and automation are increasing as the business scales, most notably in the underwriting process following the appointment of a Head of Credit in the period. We move forward with confidence that we have a big opportunity in front of us.

-- Forward Studio

Through the Forward Studio, we continue to drive growth for the portfolio and de-risk investments for both Forward Ventures and Forward Advances. This work begins with attracting the best businesses through educational and development programmes. For example, we are currently making preparations for our next Founders Programme - an accelerator programme for aspiring founders which we will run in H2 and for which we expect to see over 300 applications. For the companies we invest in - and for Advances - we will continue to assist in structuring marketing and growth, building customer-centred products and offering support in preparing for further funding.

Outlook

We've prepared for growth, strengthening our business to support deployment of capital into high growth, early-stage technology companies. Following our IPO we have a strong cash position, holding GBP36.6m post admission. We've worked to develop our team and infrastructure to support us as we scale, whilst maintaining the discipline required to generate great returns. We have a clear investment strategy, a strong pipeline and a deployment plan that we believe will continue to create value for our investors in the periods ahead.

The UK tech ecosystem saw a record high VC investment of $15bn in 2020 - and it continues to grow, with the first quarter of 2021 up by a remarkable 25% on Q4 2020. All that in spite of Brexit and the pandemic.

As we move into autumn and hopefully out of lockdown, we believe that the ever-increasing pace of change and the maturing of the UK tech ecosystem will combine to generate stronger companies and bigger opportunities than ever before. Despite the media focus on big exits and late stage deals, at Forward we believe the best opportunities to invest and add value are at the earliest stages. That's when growth is fastest and competition for deals is less fierce.

When the world experiences adversity, challengers see opportunity. It's why at Forward, we believe that entrepreneurs will be the ones to solve many of the world's problems. At such a time as this, we have seen more challenges, challengers and opportunities for change than ever before.

The reason we come to work every day is to give the founders of these startups their best shot at success. By bringing venture and revenue-based finance together with specialised growth support we're offering just that. These are great times to work in the startup ecosystem and we are excited to continue building shareholder value on our mission to build the UK's leading and most admired early-stage venture firm.

Thank you to all our shareholders for their continuing support of this vision.

Nic Brisbourne

Chief Executive Officer

Portfolio review

At 30 June 2021, Forward Partners' portfolio consisted of 46 active companies, with a Ventures Portfolio Value (the gross value of the Group's investment holding before deductions for carried interest) of GBP108.0m (vs 31 December 2020: GBP86.0m - pro forma). Through the reporting period, we have seen good growth, with Ventures Portfolio Value increasing by 25.6% - totalling GBP22.0m, including new investments.

Portfolio

The Forward portfolio has been constructed to maximise risk adjusted growth by balancing upside potential, chance of failure, likely holding period and concentration risk.

We focus investment across three key operating models: applied AI, eCommerce and marketplace, representing 19.6%, 26.1% and 34.8% of the portfolio respectively at 30 June 2021; and our top fifteen core holdings representing 71.1% of Ventures Portfolio Value with the largest holding representing 11.6%.

At 30 June 2021, Forward Partners core holdings (top 15 by Portfolio Value) were Ably, Cazoo, Rest Easy (Snaptrip), Patch, Makers, Lexoo, Apexx, Juno, Spoke, Cherryz, Koyo Loans, Appear Here, Fy, Counting Up and Wonderbly. Key movements include Ably Realtime's $70m Series B round that resulted in a GBP10.3m uplift on the Group's existing stake. Other significant positive movements included an uplift of GBP3.2m on Cherryz and GBP3.7m on Cazoo as a result of their SPAC merger. Conversely, the notable valuation declines were at Patch (GBP2.7m) and Makers (GBP2.5m) where the effects of Covid have resulted in slowing sales momentum. We are hopeful they will return to valuation growth in the next 6 - 12 months.

Investments

GBP3.5m was invested by Forward Ventures between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021 of which GBP0.7m was invested in a new portfolio company and GBP2.8m invested into nine existing portfolio companies in follow-on rounds.

New investments

-- Current period to 30 June 2021

-- Clustermarket. Forward Partners invested GBP0.7m into the all-in one lab management platform as part of the company's $3.5m round, alongside Haymarket and existing investors.

-- Post period end

-- Ryde. Forward Partners invested GBP1m into Ryde, the on-demand delivery driver platform, as part of a GBP2.5m fundraise round alongside Triple Point and existing investors including Seedcamp.

   --    Two further new investments totalling GBP2.0m completed. 

Follow-on investments

-- Current period to 30 June 2021

-- Ably. Forward Partners invested GBP0.5m into Ably, a platform building real time infrastructure for the internet as part of the company's $70m round co-led by Insight Partners and Dawn Capital.

-- Koyo Loans. Forward Partners invested GBP0.5m into Koyo, a loans provider as part of a $50m Series A led by Force Over Mass.

   --    HIGHR. Forward Partners invested GBP0.1m into HIGHR, a DTC clean cosmetics company. 
   --    UpLearn. Forward Partners invested GBP0.3m into UpLearn, an online learning platform. 

-- Ahauz. Forward Partners invested GBP0.1m into Ahauz, a PropTech firm seeking to help first time buyers get on the property ladder.

   --    Aphetor. Forward Partners invested GBP0.2m into Aphetor, a sports entertainment platform. 

-- Cherryz. Forward Partners invested GBP0.6m into Cherryz, an online discount retailer of low price fast-moving consumer goods and general merchandise.

-- Counting Up. Forward Partners invested GBP0.2m into Counting Up, one of the UK's leading small business banking apps.

-- Fair HQ. Forward Partners invested GBP0.3m into Fair HQ, a platform that helps businesses to improve their diversity and inclusion.

-- Post period end

-- Ahauz. Forward Partners invested GBP0.1m into Ahauz, a company that provides equity loans to first-time home buyers.

-- FairHQ - Forward Partners invested GBP0.1m into FairHQ, a company who help businesses to embed diversity and inclusion best practices through an online platform.

-- Juno. Forward Partners invested GBP0.2m into Juno, a company who provide conveyancing services to house buyers.

-- Virtuoso. Forward Partners invested GBP0.5m into Virtuoso, a company who provide software testing services utilising applied AI.

Realisations

-- Current period

There were no realisations in the period between 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021.

-- Post period end

The Group achieved its first significant exit opportunities following Admission totalling GBP11.7m.

-- Heights. Forward Partners exited from supplements brand Heights, facilitated by a third-party investment realising a total cash return of GBP2.2m, valuing its stake at 2.1x the carrying NAV held at 31 March 2021. It represents a 2.3x cash on cash return and 29% IRR.

-- Wonderbly. Forward Partners exited from Wonderbly, the publishing platform for personalised children's books following private equity firm Graphite Capital's acquisition. The total cash return from the Wonderbly investment, including GBP0.5m from a partial sell-down in 2015, stands at GBP3.3m, valuing its stake at 1.0x the carrying NAV held at 31 March 2021. It represented a 13.1x cash on cash return and 103% IRR.

-- Cazoo. Forward Partners saw a valuation increase of GBP3.7m following Cazoo's SPAC merger increasing our holding from GBP3.0m at 31 March 2021 to approximately GBP6.7m. Forward Partner's holding in Ajax (now renamed Cazoo Group Limited) consists of 1,042,328 shares (the "Cazoo Shares") with a value of GBP6.6m based on the company's opening share price on 27 August 2021. Of the Company's Cazoo Shares, 90,911 are to be held in escrow alongside approximately GBP91k in cash for a period of 12 months from the date of completion of the Merger. Forward's non-escrow shareholding in Ajax is subject to a lock-up of six months from the date of completion of the Merger. Figures are approximate and based upon a share price and GBP:USD exchange rate fixed at NYSE market open 09:30 UTC on 27 August 2021.

Top 15 Portfolio Companies by valuation

Figures shown below, including total investment, NAV and illustrative NAV return, are unaudited and correct as at 30 June 2021. The top 15 investments cover 71% of the portfolio by fair value.

 
                             Fair   Invested   Delta        Fair   Invested   Realised   Delta        Fair 
                            Value                          Value                                     Value 
                         31/12/20                       31/03/21                                  30/06/21 
---------------------  ----------  ---------  ------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ------  ---------- 
                             GBPm       GBPm    GBPm        GBPm       GBPm       GBPm    GBPm        GBPm 
 Ably                         2.3                9.8        12.1        0.5                           12.6 
 Cazoo                        2.8                0.2         3.0                           3.7         6.7 
 Snaptrip                     4.6                1.7         6.3                           0.9         7.2 
 Patch                        9.0              (0.5)         8.5                         (2.2)         6.3 
 Makers                       8.5              (1.4)         7.1                         (1.1)         6.0 
 Lexoo                        5.8              (0.8)         5.0                           0.6         5.6 
 Apexx                        2.4                2.3         4.7                                       4.7 
 Juno                         3.3              (0.6)         2.7                           1.8         4.5 
 Spoke                        5.0                            5.0                         (1.0)         4.0 
 Cherryz                      0.5        0.6     2.6         3.7                                       3.7 
 Koyo Loans                   3.6              (1.8)         1.8        0.5                1.1         3.4 
 Appear Here                  2.6                            2.6                           0.7         3.3 
 Fy                           3.4                            3.4                         (0.5)         2.9 
 Counting Up                  2.1        0.3     0.4         2.8                                       2.8 
 Wonderbly                    2.8                            2.8                                       2.8 
 Remaining portfolio         27.3        0.6     1.4        29.3        1.0                1.2        31.5 
                       ----------  ---------  ------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ------  ---------- 
 Ventures Portfolio 
  Value                      86.0        1.5    13.3       100.8        2.0        0.0     5.2       108.0 
 Forward Advances             0.6        1.6       -         2.2        1.0      (3.2)       -         0.0 
                       ----------  ---------  ------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ------  ---------- 
 Total Portfolio 
  value (including 
  Advances) as 
  per Admission 
  document                   86.6        3.1    13.3       103.0        3.0      (3.2)     5.2       108.0 
 Carried Interest           (5.4)          -   (2.2)       (7.6)          -          -   (1.5)       (9.1) 
 Net Ventures 
  Portfolio Value            81.2        3.1    11.1        95.4        3.0      (3.2)     3.7        98.9 
                       ----------  ---------  ------  ----------  ---------  ---------  ------  ---------- 
 

Portfolio update

Note: FD Category represents fully diluted interest shares categorised as follows: Cat A: 0-5%, Cat B: 6-10%, Cat C: 11-15%, Cat D: 16-25%, Cat E: >25%.

Ably

Ably is building better real-time infrastructure for the internet. Established in 2016 by Matthew O'Riordan and Paddy Byers, Ably provides a platform to handle complex, behind-the-scenes real time communication that powers chat, live updates, Internet of Things ("IoT"). It delivers billions of messages to more than 50 million people across web, mobile, and IoT platforms every day.

Recent news

-- On June 30th, Ably announced a successful raise of $70m led by Insight Partners and Dawn Capital.

   --    Overall, Ably reaches 250 million devices per month. 

-- Funding will be used to strengthen the UK team, expanding it from 65 to 125 employees by the end of 2022 to drive innovation and scale.

Total invested : GBP1.7m | Fair Value: GBP12.6m | Fair Value / Investment: 7.4 x | FD Category B

Cazoo

Cazoo is an online used car marketplace designed to transform the way people buy, finance, or rent used cars. The platform enables customers to purchase a used car online and have it delivered to their door. It provides a free 90-day warranty and roadside assistance, enabling the customers to embrace the simplicity of the online convenience, free delivery, and 7-day money-back guarantee.

Recent news

-- Post-period, in August 2021, Cazoo raised $1bn in a SPAC merger, increasing Forward Partners holding by GBP3.7m to approximately GBP6.7m.

   --    In May 2021, Cazoo announced their 25,000th car sale in just 18 months since launch. 
   --    Recently, Cazoo acquired leading automotive data insights platform, Cazana. 

Total invested : GBP1.6m | Fair Value: GBP6.7m | Fair Value / Investment: 4.1 x | FD Category A

Snaptrip

Snaptrip is a marketplace that helps people to discover the best last minute cottage holiday deals in the UK. Founded in 2014 by Dan Harrison and Matthew Fox, Snaptrip has grown to offer over 60,000 professionally managed cottages from big-name partners. They hold a rating of 4.4/5 on Trustpilot.

Recent news

   --    Company raised a GBP2.1m round in May 2021 led by Bestport Ventures. 
   --    Funding used to acquire Last Minute Cottages. 

-- The team aim to grow their position as the UK's biggest and best 'last minute' self-catering brand.

Total invested : GBP0.6m | Fair Value: GBP7.2m | Fair Value / Investment: 12.0 x | FD Category D

Patch

Patch is one of the leading online UK direct-to-consumer plant stores. Established in 2015 by Freddie Blackett, Patch helps people who need plants most - those who live and work in the city - to choose and care for plants in their home and workplace. The company has attracted over 250,000 customers. They hold a 4.8/5 rating on Trustpilot and an audience of 240,000 plant fans on Instagram. Patch was recently voted 28th in start-ups.co.uk '100 to watch'.

Recent news

   --    Opened a new fulfilment centre to reduce delivery times and logistics costs. 
   --    Exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show in collaboration with The Edible Bus Company. 
   --    Launched the Patch Plant Hotel to take care of customers' plants whilst they are on holiday. 

Total invested : GBP1.1m | Fair Value: GBP6.3m | Fair Value / Investment: 5.7 x | FD Category D

Makers

Makers are creating a new generation of tech talent through courses and apprenticeships. Its combination of academy and recruitment agency has enabled them to upskill and place graduate developers with over 300 businesses, including Google, Tesco, Starling Bank, and the BBC. Makers hold a rating of 4.7/5 from customers on bootcamp review site SwitchUp.

Recent news

-- July marked the third year of Maker's Women in Software Power List in partnership with Google Startups UK and Computer Weekly.

   --    Now working with three of the world's largest technology companies. 

-- Announced their first 12 Represent Scholars, free places on the Makers course offered to individuals from under-represented groups.

Total invested : GBP1.0m | Fair Value: GBP6.0m | Fair Value / Investment: 6.0 x | FD Category E

Lexoo

Lexoo is a technology-driven legal outsourcing solution. Founded in 2014, the company has grown to deliver legal services to companies worldwide through a network of more than 1,100 lawyers in 70 countries. Tackling transparency and efficiency in the legal market, the team leverages technology driven processes to unlock capacity, efficiency and improve stakeholder engagement. Lexoo holds a rating of 4.6/5 on TrustPilot.

Recent news

   --    Soon to launch a new product line to offer GDPR assessments as a recurring service. 

-- Launched a credits-based subscription model to drive recurring revenue from ad-hoc client base.

   --    Trustpilot plc onboarded as a client. 

Total invested : GBP1.5m | Fair Value: GBP5.7m | Fair Value / Investment: 3.8 x | FD Category E

Apexx

Apexx's platform allows merchants to connect via a simple API connection to the world's payment ecosystem, increasing conversion at lower cost and satisfying their entire payments needs. The team has grown to 41 people working across 3 countries and serves clients such as ASOS, Xe, eShopworld and Air Seychelles.

Recent news

-- In August 2021, Apexx announced four new global brands - Atome, LayBuy, Sezzle and Tamara signed on to use their platform.

   --    Apexx have expanded sales operations to cover the USA, 2 FTEs now hired. 

-- Buy-now-pay-later aggregation tool continues development with multiple providers signed up to the product.

   --    Winner of Payment innovation of the year at the 2021 FS Tech awards. 

Total invested : GBP1.6m | Fair Value: GBP4.7m | Fair Value / Investment: 2.9 x | FD Category B

Juno

Juno brings together legal expertise with software and AI to offer conveyancing that's clear, convenient and reliable. Juno's goal is to become the UK's largest and most trusted property law firm. Established in 2017 by Etienne Pollard and Henry Hadlow, the Juno vision is to make the legal side of home buying simpler, clearer and faster. The founders saw an opportunity in a fragmented, people intensive legal and conveyancing sector. Their disruptive solution leverages a data-driven approach to drive better, faster, more cost-efficient services. Revenues more than doubled in 2020. Juno holds a Trustpilot rating of 4.4/5.

Recent news

-- Launched closed beta of AI-enabled legal service to complete property purchases, targeting 10x faster than average completions.

   --    Launched new buy-to-let remortgaging product, targeting 5x speed-up vs industry average. 

Total invested : GBP2.1m | Fair Value: GBP4.5m | Fair Value / Investment: 2.1 x | FD Category D

Spoke

Spoke is a direct-to-consumer eCommerce company that provides better fitting, better looking men's clothes. Established in 2013, the company has sold more than 100,000 pairs of chinos since 2014. It has been featured in GQ and Esquire and holds a Trustpilot rating of 4.7/5.

Recent news

   --    In May, Spoke announced ITV's subscription of GBP2m in convertible loan notes. 

-- Spoke will use ITV's media investment to launch a TV advertising campaign running alongside major sporting events.

Total invested : GBP2.3m | Fair Value: GBP4.0m | Fair Value / Investment: 1.7 x | FD Category C

Cherryz

Cherryz is an online discount retailer of low price fast-moving consumer goods and general merchandise. Its app brings consumers through a user journey that combines the convenience of online shopping with the favourable low prices of discount stores. Cherryz is focused on a growing online grocery sector and creating shopping (vs. buying) experiences on mobile devices - trends that have both accelerated through the Covid-19 pandemic. Cherryz hold a Trustpilot rating of 4.4/5.

Recent news

   --    Increased headcount from 25 to 70. 
   --    Tripled the size of our fulfilment operations. 
   --    Invested in machine learning in order to deliver a more personalized customer experience. 

Total invested : GBP1.8m | Fair Value: GBP3.7m | Fair Value / Investment: 2.0 x | FD Category B

Koyo Loans

Koyo uses open banking and applied AI to offer personal loans to consumers who lack traditional historical credit data, without excessive fees for credit. Established in 2018 by Thomas Olszewski, Koyo is on a mission to provide loans that are personal and transparent, to those who have little or no options through no fault of their own. They launched their service in 2019 and have achieved a Trustpilot rating of 4.9/5.

Recent news

   --    Post-period in September, Koyo closed a $50m Series A led by Force Over Mass. 

-- The company anticipates using the funding to provide access to competitively priced credit, when most traditional leaders have been scaling back lending.

Total invested : GBP2.0m | Fair Value: GBP3.4m | Fair Value / Investment: 1.7 x | FD Category C

Appear Here

Appear Here is an online marketplace for retail space. The company is building a global network of the best retail spaces and working exclusively with some of the biggest landlords in the world including Land Securities, Hammerson and Westfield. Spaces listed on Appear Here include prime high street shops, underground stations, unique venues, major shopping malls and historic buildings. All spaces are exclusive to Appear Here and can be booked by the week or month.

Recent news

   --    Grown supply to double pre-pandemic levels. 

-- Revenue has grown significantly since the ending of the 3rd lockdown, with revenue up 500% since Jan 2021.

-- Despite rental prices decreasing due to Covid, average order values have increased on Appear Here's platform reflecting longer booking durations.

Total invested : GBP1.7m | Fair Value: GBP3.2m | Fair Value / Investment: 1.9 x | FD Category C

Fy!

Fy! is a mobile-first eCommerce marketplace designed to meet the needs of millennial shoppers. The platform uses a combination of social content, machine learning, and a deep understanding of its products and suppliers to create a personalised experience for each shopper using the site and app. The company already ships over 100,000 products from over 2,000 creators to 30 countries across the world. FY! hold a Trustpilot rating of 4.8/5.

Recent news

   --    In March 2021, Fy! secured a GBP5m funding round led by Hoxton ventures. 
   --    The company used the funds to invest in international - particularly US growth. 

-- The team has invested into technology to solve problems eCommerce players face with outdated, legacy systems.

Total invested : GBP0.7m | Fair Value: GBP2.8m | Fair Value / Investment: 4.0 x | FD Category B

Counting Up

Countingup is one of the UK's leading small business banking apps with built-in accounting features. Its vision is to become a "financial hub" for micro businesses in the UK and beyond. The company was established in 2017 by Tim Fouracre, who previously founded cloud accounting software Clear Books. It combines a business bank account with bookkeeping features to help automate the filing of accounts, a major time sink and pain-point for an underserved market of sole traders and small businesses. The company now boasts over 34,000 business customers.

Recent news

   --    In March 2021, Counting Up closed GBP9.1m in funding, led by Framework Venture Partners. 

-- Funding to be used to scale the team from 30 to 80 people and accelerate their technology roadmap.

-- The company were finalists in this year's British Bank Awards for the Best Business Banking Provider and Best Banking App.

Total invested : GBP1.0m | Fair Value: GBP2.8m | Fair Value / Investment: 2.8 x | FD Category B

Wonderbly

Wonderbly is a vertically integrated publishing startup from London. Wonderbly combines the power of stories with the possibilities of technology, to create magical, personalised experiences and make kids around the world more curious, clever and kind. The business was established in 2012 - their first product www.lostmy.name sold over 600,000 copies and shipped to over 135 countries across the world. To date it has delighted over 6 million children with over 40 stories in 7 languages. Wonderbly's product is disrupting the traditional publishing industry with cutting-edge technology and clever algorithms that create truly personalised children's books - actually placing their young readers within the story. The business has won a number of awards and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2016. They hold a Trustpilot rating of 4.6/5.

Recent news

   --    Graphite Capital acquired Wonderbly in July 2021, realising GBP2.8m for Forward Partners. 
   --    This year Wonderbly won Children's Publisher of the Year. 

Total invested : GBP0.25m | Fair Value: GBP2.8m | Fair Value / Investment: 11.2 x | FD Category B

Interim Financial Review

Welcome to our maiden Interim Accounts as a listed company, prepared as at 30 June 2021. The period was defined by the preparations for our successful IPO on 19 July 2021 which received strong backing from new and existing investors. As part of the IPO, we undertook a Group restructuring exercise. As a result, Forward Partners Fund I and Fund II; the limited partnerships holding the initial portfolio of 46 companies, were acquired by the Company for share consideration of GBP97.5m. The Group's management company, Forward Partners Management Company Limited and Forward Partners Venture Advance Limited became subsidiaries of the Group. Forward Partners completed a successful fundraise to provide cash for further investment of GBP36.5m.

The Company was incorporated on 4 March 2021 as a holding company for the Group and in the period between incorporation and 30 June 2021 had not commenced operations. For completeness, the unaudited financial results for the Company for the period from 4 March to 30 June 2021 are set out below. In order to provide a more meaningful picture of the trading position of the Group in the six months to 30 June 2021 these interim results also present an unaudited pro forma consolidated statement of comprehensive income, consolidated financial position and balance sheet for the Group (as constituted following its IPO restructuring) had it been in existence during the period under review.

The group's cash position strengthened post period end, raising GBP36.6m through the successful listing on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, and receiving GBP5.0m from investment portfolio company exits. During the period Forward Advances book value grew from GBP0.2m to GBP2.5m, an increase of 1,130%. Default rates are on budget and below 1%.

Portfolio valuation

The Ventures Portfolio Value (the gross value of the Group's investment holding before deductions for carry interest liability) as at 30 June 2021 was GBP108.0m (31 March 2021 GBP103.0m which included Forward Advances, GBP100.8m excluding Forward Advances). This is reflected in the pro forma consolidated interim statement of financial position as a financial asset held at fair value through profit or loss. The investment in Forward Advances was moved out of investments at IPO to be treated as a subsidiary operation.

No proceeds from realisations were received through this period. Investments of GBP6.1m (including GBP2.6m into Advances) were made and a gross fair value uplift of GBP18.9m was recognised. The Portfolio Value Table above reflects the gross and net movement in value of the portfolio during the period.

Key drivers of value in this period have been through funding rounds with third party investors at higher values as well as the revenue growth in underlying portfolio businesses. Key portfolio company movements in the period include Cazoo, Juno and Koyo.

Interim statement of financial position

Net assets as at 30 June 2021 on a pro forma basis were GBP102.1m which represents a 6.8% increase over the pro forma Net Assets of GBP95.6m as at 31 March 2021 shown in the Company's Admission Document on a like for like basis (GBP129.3m less GBP33.7m cash proceeds) driven principally by the increase in the fair value of the Investment Portfolio. A Net Asset value of GBP102.1m represents a NAV per share of 104.1 pence per share against an issue price of 100.0 pence per share.

Forward Advances Loan facility

In July 2021 the Forward Advances business secured a GBP5.0m, 3 year revolving wholesale lending facility to finance its lending book rollout.

Matthew Bradley

Chief Financial Officer

INTERIM FINANCIAL INFORMATION ON FORWARD PARTNERS GROUP PLC

Pro forma Consolidated Interim Statement of Comprehensive Income (unaudited)

 
                                     1 January 
                                         to 30 
                                     June 2021 
                                      GBP000's 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 INCOME 
                                   ----------- 
 Change in unrealised gains             14,573 
                                   ----------- 
 Fee income                              1,404 
                                   ----------- 
 Other Income                              228 
                                   ----------- 
 Total Income                           16,205 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 OPEX 
                                   ----------- 
 General administrative expenses         2,260 
                                   ----------- 
 Depreciation and amortisation              16 
                                   ----------- 
 Total operating costs                   2,276 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 Operating profit before tax            13,929 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 Tax expense                                 0 
                                   ----------- 
 Profit for the period                  13,929 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 Gain on negative goodwill(1)              136 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 Total comprehensive income for 
  the period                            14,065 
---------------------------------  ----------- 
 

Notes

1) The negative goodwill was a one off benefit that arose on the acquisition of the Forward Partners Management Company Limited which undertakes the management of the investment funds. In line with IFRS 3 Business Combinations it has been recognised in the profit and loss immediately.

Pro forma Consolidated Interim Statement of Financial Position (unaudited)

 
                                    30 June 2021 
                                        GBP000's 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 NON-CURRENT ASSETS 
                                   ------------- 
 Financial assets held at 
  fair value                              98,936 
                                   ------------- 
 Intangible assets(1)                      1,210 
                                   ------------- 
 Property, plant and equipment                50 
                                   ------------- 
 Right of use assets                         119 
                                   ------------- 
 Total non-current assets                100,315 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 
 CURRENT ASSETS 
                                   ------------- 
 Cash and cash equivalents                   412 
                                   ------------- 
 Trade and other receivables                 310 
                                   ------------- 
 Loans (Advances) receivables(2)           2,438 
                                   ------------- 
 Total current assets                      3,160 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 
 CURRENT LIABILITIES 
                                   ------------- 
 Trade and other payables                (1,242) 
                                   ------------- 
 Lease liability                           (118) 
                                   ------------- 
 Total current liabilities               (1,360) 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 
 NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES 
                                   ------------- 
 Deferred tax                                (6) 
                                   ------------- 
 Total non-current liabilities               (6) 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 
 Net Asset Value                         102,120 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 
 Net assets per share (pence)              104.1 
---------------------------------  ------------- 
 

Notes:

1) Includes GBP1.1m of Goodwill arising on consolidation on the acquisition of Forward Partners Venture Advance Limited and GBP0.1m of software assets

   2)   These are Advances (loans) made to customers by Forward Advances 

3) Net Assets per share is calculated on 98,113,117 shares issued that were issued up to and including the Group restructuring

Consolidated interim statement of Comprehensive income - unaudited

 
                                    Unaudited Period 
                                       from 04 March 
                                          to 30 June 
                                                2021 
                                            GBP'000s 
---------------------------------  ----------------- 
 Operating expenses                                0 
 General administrative expenses                   0 
 Total operating costs                             0 
 Loss from operations                              0 
 
 Total comprehensive income 
  for the period                                   0 
---------------------------------  ----------------- 
 

The notes below are an integral part of these consolidated interim financial statements.

Interim statement of financial position - unaudited

 
                                 Note   Unaudited as at 
                                           30 June 2021 
                                               GBP'000s 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 Trade and other receivables                         50 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 Total current assets                                50 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 Net assets                                          50 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 
 Equity 
 Share capital                                       50 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 Total equity                                        50 
------------------------------  -----  ---------------- 
 
 Net assets per share (pence)       5               100 
 

The interim financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors and authorised for issue on 29 September 2021.

M. Bradley

Chief Financial Officer

The notes below are an integral part of these consolidated interim financial statements.

Consolidated interim statement of changes in equity

For the period ended 30 June 2021

 
                           Note   Share Capital   Retained    Total Equity 
                                                   Earnings 
                                    GBP'000s      GBP'000s      GBP'000s 
 
 Balance at 04 March 
  2021                                        0           0              0 
 Comprehensive Income 
  for the period                                          0              0 
 Issue of share capital     7                50                         50 
------------------------  -----  --------------  ----------  ------------- 
 Balance at 30 June 
  2021                                       50           0             50 
------------------------  -----  --------------  ----------  ------------- 
 

The notes below are an integral part of these consolidated interim financial statements

   1.       General Information 

The information for the period ended 30 June 2021 does not constitute statutory accounts as described in section 80 of the Companies Act 2006. Comparative figures are not available as the Company was newly incorporated on 4 March 2021.

The interim financial statements are presented in Pounds Sterling (GBP/GBP), which is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the Company operates. All amounts are rounded to the nearest thousand, unless otherwise stated

   2.       Basis of Preparation 

The Company has prepared unaudited financial statements for illustrative purposes only. The Company's financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs, in conformity with applicable law, International Financial Reporting Intermediate Committee (IFRIC) interpretations and the Companies Act 2006 applicable to companies reporting under IFRSs.

These financial statements for the period ended 30 June 2021 are the first the Company has prepared in accordance with IFRSs and IFRS1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards has been applied.

The financial statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention.

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with IFRSs requires the use of certain critical accounting estimates. It also requires management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying the Group's accounting policies.

The interim financial statements are for the period from 4 March 2021 to 30 June 2021 and have been prepared on a going concern basis. They are unaudited and do not include all of the information required in statutory annual financial statements in accordance with the IFRSs in conformity with applicable law.

Accounting standards require the directors to consider the appropriateness of the going concern basis when preparing the financial statements. The directors confirm that they consider that the going concern basis remains appropriate as the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future based upon forecasts.

The interim financial statements have been approved for issue by the Board of Directors on 29 September 2021.

   3.       Standards not affecting the reported results or financial position 

No upcoming changes under IFRS are likely to have a material effect on the reported results or financial position. Management will continue to monitor upcoming changes.

   4.       Adoption of new and revised standards 

No changes to IFRS have impacted this period's financial statements.

   5.       Net asset value per share 

Net asset value per share is based on the net assets attributable to shareholders and the number of shares at the relevant reporting date (balance sheet date). When calculating the diluted earnings per share, the number of shares in issue at balance sheet date is adjusted for the effect of all dilutive share options and awards.

 
 Net Assets Per Ordinary Share 
                 Net Assets   Weighted average     Pence 
                  GBP'000s      no. of shares     per share 
--------------  -----------  -----------------  ----------- 
 30 June 2021        50            50,001          100.0 
 
 
 Diluted Net Assets Per Ordinary Share 
                 Net Assets   Weighted average     Pence 
                  GBP'000s      no. of shares     per share 
--------------  -----------  -----------------  ----------- 
 30 June 2021        50            50,001          100.0 
 
   6.       Financial assets and financial liabilities 

Set out below are the Group's financial instruments:

 
                                 Unaudited 
                                 Period from 
                                  04 March 
                                 to 30 June 
                                    2021 
                                  GBP'000s 
 Financial assets 
 Trade and other receivables              50 
 Total financial assets                   50 
                               ------------- 
 
 
   7.       Share capital and share premium 

Ordinary Share Capital

 
 Ordinary share capital 
 Allotted and fully paid                     Number   GBP    GBP000's 
------------------------------------------  -------  -----  --------- 
 As at 04 March 2021                           0       0        0 
 Issue of share capital during the period 
  - Ordinary shares                            1      0.01      0 
 Issue of share capital during the period 
  - Management shares                        50,000   1.00      50 
 As at 30 June 2021                          50,001             50 
 
   8.       Related party transactions 

Key management personnel

On 28 May 2021 50,000 GBP1.00 Management Shares were issued to Allen Browning who is the company Secretary for the Company. These shares were redeemed at IPO.

   9.       Ultimate controlling party 

At 30 June 2021 the entire share capital was held by Allen Browning who was the Company Secretary and Finance Director of the company. This shareholding was for the purposes of the restructuring of the Group and to enable the subsequent IPO of the company.

   10.     Subsequent events 

On 19th July 2021 the Company was listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

Post period-end, there has been a continued strong pipeline of investments with GBP1.0m deployed in Ryde and two further new investments that have yet to be announced.

There have been two realisations of investments post period end Lostmy.name Ltd T/A Wonderbly for GBP2.8m and Heights for GBP2.2m.

Definitions & Glossary

 
 Ventures Portfolio       The gross value of the Group's investment 
  Value                    holding before deductions for carry interest 
                           liability. 
 Net Ventures Portfolio   The Group's investment holding after deductions 
  Value                    for carry interest liability. 
                         ------------------------------------------------ 
 Forward Advances         Forward Partners Venture Advance Limited 
                           a wholly owned subsidiary of Forward Partners 
                           Group PLC. 
                         ------------------------------------------------ 
 

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END

IR DVLFLFKLXBBL

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September 29, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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