2020 represented the tenth anniversary of the founding of Deepbridge Capital. Therefore, perhaps the perfect time to speak with Founder and Managing Partner, Ian Warwick, about the history and future plans for Deepbridge Capital.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your background prior to founding Deepbridge?
I proudly started out in the Royal Navy before a career in the oil business took me out to Houston, Texas. After the oil crash in 1986 I changed career and moved into advertising and worked with the Houston Rockets NBA basketball team. I then came back to the UK, built a career in the print industry, where I was the Sales Director of Europe’s largest printers. During this time, I spotted an opportunity and set up one of the first companies to manage and control the movement of digital assets, which eventually listed on Nasdaq.
This was then sold and throughout the process I met a number of individuals in New York who ran small cap funds and I went to work with them. I then spent a number of years working with growth focused or distressed tech companies with the objective of maximising investors’ returns.
How was Deepbridge founded?
In 2010, I was offered another role in California, after completing my most recent US role, however I turned it down as I had a young family and the time was right to be UK based. Initially, Deepbridge was founded with the aim to take my skill set, and several other individuals who I had previously worked with, and use these skills to work in a number of organisations rather than just one at a time.
Fresh to the UK after a long time working over in the US, we found prospective investors were happy with our investment methodology and the hands on approach we took, but asked why we were not using the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)? To which I replied, ‘What is the Enterprise Investment Scheme?!’ Therefore, after a lot of research, Deepbridge’s first EIS fund was launched in 2013.
Deepbridge recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, how does that feel?
The past ten years would simply not have been possible without the support of various groups, and for that I must firstly thank the Deepbridge team. We have built a fantastic team, with a great culture, which embraces opportunities and challenges with equal positivity. I must also thank our brilliant investee companies for feeding our passion – it is these innovators that make our industry such an exciting and fulfilling place to be and they are the reason we do what we do. And finally, and most importantly, thank you to the financial advisers and investors who have supported Deepbridge and our investee companies.
Whether you have known us for years or are relative newcomers, it is your support, and your shared passion for what we do, that enables us to fund these great companies. In these strange times, we believe that it has never been more important to support early-stage technology and life sciences companies, so please continue to support Deepbridge and our investees. Due to the obvious reasons, our planned celebrations were postponed, and we now plan to make ‘11 the new 10’… so watch this space!
What is the Deepbridge ethos?
Deepbridge’s purpose is to provide a degree of comfort to investors by enabling them to invest alongside our team of passionate, experienced and fair-minded specialists. We have a genuine blend of people who know what it’s like to run a business and who have a balanced approach between being good investors, strong managers and practical operators.
We hope investors find Deepbridge to be a team you want to partner with and a team in whom you can place your trust internally. We also promote a culture of professional excellence and integrity which characterises all that we do.
Through this, we actively encourage our investee companies to achieve the highest standards of corporate governance. We bring value to investee companies through our proven experience of building growth businesses, involving our network of investors, technology advisors, and industry partners.
What makes Deepbridge unique?
Deepbridge only operates in sectors in which the team has in-depth experience; technology, life sciences and renewable energy. This allows us to appreciate where, how and why our investee companies operate, giving us a better understanding of how to support, mentor and manage those businesses. With a proven track record of working with emerging companies, the Deepbridge investment team work closely with investee companies throughout their funding journey in order to ensure they have the very best opportunity to succeed and ultimately aim to provide our investors with an optimum return.
We are also proud to say that we are one of the few EIS providers in the market who can offer reassurance to advisers that clients’ EIS subscriptions will be fully deployed the same tax year, with deployments usually taking place on a monthly basis.
What is your biggest achievement so far at Deepbridge?
It goes without saying that the innovate companies that we have supported have been a big achievement for Deepbridge.
We have provided over £160m of funding to over 100 companies that are truly having a positive impact the technology, life sciences and renewable energy sectors.
It’s a privilege to be involved in the development of innovative companies in the UK that hold true potential. However, to me, the biggest achievements for Deepbridge is the team that we have built over the years.
Today, Deepbridge has a team of over 40 people in offices across the UK, Australia and the US. Deepbridge would not be where it is today without each hardworking individual, and I hope to see Deepbridge grow even further throughout the coming years.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Working with great people. Whether that be the Deepbridge team, the founder and leaders of our investee companies or the advisers and clients who invest in our proposition.
Everyone we work with is committed to supporting growth-focused innovators and entrepreneurs, which makes it a fascinating sector to work in.
And finally, what does the future hold for Deepbridge?
Our main ambition is to continue to redefine growth capital, becoming the number one EIS provider in the market. Despite the impacts of Coronavirus, Deepbridge remains in a strong position going forward.
We still have ambitious plans to grow the business over the next 3-5 years, by not only increasing our funds under management, but ensuring our existing and future companies continue to receive the best possible support.
As Deepbridge continues to grow, our propositions will continue to evolve with it. I am very excited about what the future holds for everyone at Deepbridge, our investee companies, our advisers, and ultimately, our investors.