20 March 2020:
Catherine Lewis La Torre, CEO, British Patient Capital
All of us have already been affected in some way by the spread of the Coronavirus and the Covid-19 outbreak. This is obviously a very challenging time and although the near-term outlook is uncertain, we remain committed to the continued delivery of our investment programme.
As I am sure you will appreciate, the health and wellbeing of all colleagues is our top priority. Therefore, following government advice, the British Patient Capital team is now working from home. Future internal and external meetings will be conducted via video conference to comply with the government’s guidance on social distancing.
Fortunately, we have robust, tested and secure IT infrastructure in place and have enacted our Business Continuity Plan. All our team members are equipped with the hardware and software they need to fully carry out their roles remotely.
In short, we are very much open for business.
The coronavirus and its impact are unprecedented. We also know from our past experience in challenging economic circumstances that overall fundraising levels for both companies and fund managers will reduce, and then return as the environment improves. This is normal as both GPs and LPs focus on existing relationships and their current portfolio: dealflow does not disappear, but both GPs and LPs’ bandwith for new opportunities reduces.
Taking this into consideration, it is clear to me that the need for a long-term patient capital approach, that supports the commercial deployment of the world-leading science conducted in universities across the UK, is as relevant and as important as ever. As such, and as a responsible investor, we will continue to announce our investments, speak to the media, and share our views on the market through all our communication channels.
As the largest domestic investor in venture and venture growth capital we have a large portfolio. We also have multiple potential investments at different stages of development. We would therefore like to reassure all of our existing and potential partners of the following:
- Portfolio fund managers – we are able to meet all drawdown requests and process any distributions in accordance with our agreements;
- Fund managers in the fundraising process to which we have already committed capital as part of a first or subsequent closing – we will continue to support you in your fund raising and new investment activities;
- Fund managers in the process of completing a fund closing but where we have not yet subscribed – we will move forward with the legal execution process in line with our previous commitments to you;
- Fund managers where we have commenced due diligence and met with your team in person – we will continue the due diligence process holding virtual meetings only;
- Fund managers at earlier stages of fund raising or where we have initiated contact recently – we will follow our usual processes, but without on-site visits or meetings at our offices. As a result the time periods to take proposals forward may be extended.
These issues will take time to resolve and both the economy and daily life will experience a period of interruption before returning to normality, nevertheless we have every confidence in our sector, and continue to support our fund managers and the wider UK innovation economy.