Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Forward Partners Group Plc LSE:FWD London Ordinary Share GB00BKPGBB09 ORD GBP0.01
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  3.00 3.06% 101.00 97.00 105.00 101.00 97.50 97.50 16,813 11:49:22
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Equity Investment Instruments - - - - 136

Forward Partners Group PLC Portfolio Exits and New Investments

12/08/2021 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)

Forward Partners (LSE:FWD)
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RNS Number : 3581I

Forward Partners Group PLC

12 August 2021

Forward Partners Group plc

("Forward Partners" or the "Company")

Portfolio Exits and New Investments

   --    Exited investments in Wonderbly and Heights, realising cash returns of GBP5m 

-- GBP1m investment in delivery platform Ryde in a GBP2.5m round alongside TriplePoint and existing investors

Forward Partners, the London-based venture capital firm specialising in supporting high growth, early-stage technology businesses, announces its first portfolio company exits since its admission to AIM in July. Forward Partners has exited its investments in Wonderbly, the publishing platform for personalised children's books, and Heights, the brain health and cognition supplements company for a total of GBP5 million. The proceeds from the divestments will be reinvested in Forward Ventures and Forward Advances, in line with the IPO strategy.

The Company, which invests in start-ups across eCommerce, digital marketplaces, and applied AI, exited from Wonderbly following private equity firm Graphite Capital's acquisition of the direct-to-consumer platform. Since its initial investment in May 2014, Forward Partners has helped Wonderbly to accelerate sales and expand into over 150 countries. In 2020, Wonderbly sold more than one million books and recently won 'Children's Publisher of the Year' at the British Book Awards. Forward Partners realised GBP2.8m in this transaction. 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 0.98x the carrying NAV held at 31 March 2021. It represents a 13.1x cash on cash return and 103% IRR.

Forward Partners has also exited from supplements brand Heights, facilitated by a third-party investment. Heights, which produces smart supplements to boost health and cognitive ability, has built a large and loyal customer following, garnering a rating of 4.8/5 on TrustPilot and public endorsements that include Stephen Fry. Forward Partners has realised a total cash return of GBP2.2 million, valuing its stake at 2.05x the carrying NAV held at 31 March 2021. It represents a 2.3x cash on cash return and 29% IRR.

Forward Partners also announces a GBP1 million investment in Ryde, the on-demand delivery driver platform, as part of a GBP2.5 million fundraise round alongside Triple Point and existing investors including Seedcamp. Ryde supplies delivery drivers on demand to grocery and e-Commerce businesses, empowering riders to regain control in the gig economy and connecting businesses to high quality drivers that deliver faster and better. The company plans to use the funds to launch its fleet and rider management tools, enabling customers to manage internal and external delivery personnel under one platform.

Nic Brisbourne, CEO of Forward Partners, said : "After our successful IPO, it's fantastic to announce two strong exits and our new investment in Ryde. It's been great to partner with both Wonderbly and Heights to accelerate their growth and we're pleased to welcome Ryde to the Forward family.

With significant cash returns to our balance sheet and a strong pipeline of potential investments, our momentum is robust. The UK really is leading the charge when it comes to eCommerce, AI and Marketplace innovation. Our 'permanent capital' approach means we are perfectly positioned to grow strong businesses that will be the building blocks to our economic recovery. Exciting times are ahead."

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

Notes to editors:

Founded in 2013, Forward Partners is a well-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 and meet strategic goals faster - ultimately aiming to provide better outcomes for companies and investors alike.

The Group has historically made 65 unique equity investments in early-stage, high growth UK companies (which includes Forward Advances), of which nine have been realised, and has built a portfolio that has an Initial Portfolio NAV of c.GBP103.0 million as of 31 March 2021. It holds an eight-year track record of making venture capital investments, with a Gross IRR of 25.4% over that period to 31 March 2021.

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.

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August 12, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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