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GEIV Ventures Celebrates Successful First Year

01 April 2004
Announces Investment Fund to Double to £5 Million

1 April 2004 – GEIF Ventures Early Growth Fund, the angels co-investment vehicle set up alongside Great Eastern Investment Forum in April 2003, celebrates its first anniversary by announcing the doubling of its funds to £5 million.

Set up on 1st April 2003 within NW Brown Group, GEIF Ventures (GEIFV) was created with a £2.5 million initial contribution by the Small Business Service to co-invest into promising early growth businesses with Great Eastern Investment Forum (GEIF) business angels. In recognition of GEIFV’s successful investment programme, the DTI’s Small Business Service has doubled the capital committed to GEIF Ventures to £5m.

“This is a major achievement”, stated Nigel Brown, Chairman of NW Brown Group, “and I am delighted that we not only proved co-investing is one of the most effective and efficient ways to bridge the ‘equity gap’ but that even more investees and angels will be able to benefit from this proposition over the next 2-3 years.”

Max Bautin, who manages GEIF Ventures, added, “This further DTI contribution also means that GEIF Venture’s investing power will be increased to a possible £500,000 per venture, subject to private capital matching. Initially, GEIF Ventures can co-invest up to £100,000 and, if appropriate, follow up its investment after 9 months. This additional investment power will give GEIF business angels and GEIF Ventures the increased ability to support their investees to later stages of their development, affording them a greater chance of succeeding.”

In the last year GEIFV has invested a total of c. £800,000 alongside £2.6M of private investment in 8 seed and early stage companies in the technology and ‘traditional business’ sectors. Portfolio companies include: Artimi, Novacta Biosystems, OnRelay, Quotient Diagnostics, Reality Telecom, Spice Inns, Transversal and Visit4Info. Most of these companies have grown into the leading players in their sectors, whether it be in their global or local markets.

“The success of our portfolio companies so far is very encouraging,” stated Bautin. “Not only are many achieving high revenue growth rates, their success is also recognised externally. Four of our investee technology companies; Artimi, OnRelay, Quotient Diagnostic and Reality Telecom were named in the Real Business™ 2004 ’50 to Watch’ as among the 50 brightest hopes in the UK, Quotient has just been selected as Cambridge Enterprise Conference Launch Pad overall winner - and OnRelay’s MBX™ technology recently being named as global ‘Application of the Month’ by Cisco.”

Bautin concluded, “The past year has been extraordinary for GEIFV and its portfolio companies. And, if the quality of prospective investee companies we’re seeing is any indication, looks like we’re in for a promising second year.”

ENDS

Further enquiries:

Max Bautin, GEIF Ventures Ltd; max.bautin@geifventures.co.uk

Destanie Clarke, DestaniePR; Tel. 07753 826162, destanie@destaniepr.com

Notes to Editors:

Great Eastern Investment Forum (GEIF) www.geif.co.uk

GEIF is a leading UK business angels network strategically based in Cambridge. It is the fundamental link between early stage companies and business angels seeking quality investment opportunities. GEIF introductions, through regular company presentations and breakfast meetings, provide a secure and confidential business environment. GEIF website brings members all the latest investment opportunities and other relevant news. Since GEIF was launched in 1995, its members have helped over 150 early stage companies to raise in excess of £20 million of investment and to strengthen their teams with invaluable management skills. Membership of GEIF includes private investors, corporate investors, venture capitalists and corporate advisers.

NW Brown Group www.nwbrown.co.uk

NW Brown Group was founded in Cambridge in 1974. It offers a comprehensive range of financial services to private and corporate clients throughout the eastern region and beyond, including Investment Management, Stockbroking, Personal Financial Planning, Corporate Pensions, Employee Benefits, Private and Commercial Insurance, Venture Capital (First Cambridge Gateway Fund) , Corporate Finance and Seed and Early Stage Finance (Great Eastern Investment Forum and GEIF Ventures).

Small Business Service www.sbs.gov.uk

The Small Business Service (SBS) is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It is dedicated to championing the interests of small business, with our work extending across Government. The SBS's purpose is to build an enterprise society in which all small businesses thrive and achieve their potential. The SBS vision is that, by 2005, the UK should be the best place in the world to set up and run a business and our aims are to:

• help all small businesses realise their potential, especially by minimising the burden of regulation;

• promote world class business support services to enhance the performance of small businesses;

• promote enterprise across society and particularly in under-represented and disadvantaged groups; and

• achieve the highest standards of service delivery and provide value for money.