The in-house asset manager for BP’s UK pension fund has committed to an £83m (€96m) private equity European technology fund alongside other institutional investors.
Zenith III is managed by Octopus Ventures and focuses on high-growth European technology businesses needing capital and expertise for their next phase of growth. Previous funds have invested in companies such as Zoopla Property Group, known in the UK for its property websites, and Graze, a snack company that was bought by Unilever earlier this year.
According to Octopus, its Zenith funds offer “long-term investment opportunities in growth companies at a point where venture risk has yielded to more predictable execution risk”.
The third institutional fund will mainly focus on the best-performing companies from Octopus’ venture capital fund. Octopus takes a seat on the board of each of its portfolio companies.
Alliott Cole, CEO at Octopus Ventures, said: “Europe has become one of the most attractive locations for technology start-ups. This presents an attractive opportunity for institutional investors looking to support growing companies with momentum behind them.”
Octopus Ventures is part of Octopus Group, which currently manages £7.7bn, £1.7bn of which is on behalf of institutional investors.
The BP Pension Fund had £26.2bn of assets as at the end of 2017, comprised almost entirely of defined benefit (DB) assets. Around 8% of these DB assets were invested in private equity at that time.