• Eve Sleep named Growth Champion of the Year
  • Octopus Investments picked up the award for Growth Investor of the Year and Best BPR Investment Manager
  • Sam Smith, CEO and Founder of finnCap crowned Industry Champion for contribution to promoting alternative investment market
  • Speeches by Iain Wright MP and Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE highlighted the value of supporting UK SMEs and the importance of tax-efficient investments

On Thursday 3 November at the Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel, Mayfair, nearly 400 industry professionals came together for the second annual Growth Investor Awards, organised by Intelligent Partnership.

Broadcaster Steph McGovern and comedian Mark Watson presented accolades across 14 different categories. The awards were created to recognise innovation and impact in UK investment management, to highlight the importance of venture capital schemes and the industry’s contribution to job growth and wealth creation, and to honour all those involved in putting investment to work in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Opening the black tie event, Guy Tolhurst, managing director of Intelligent Partnership said: “Whether you’re a financial planner recommending alternative investments, an investment provider investing in growth businesses, or one of the many service providers who make this industry tick. You’re all part of the same ecosystem. And together you’re supporting entrepreneurs in putting growth capital to work and helping some fantastic businesses to thrive.”

The ceremony included a scene-setting film about growth capital, with perspectives from a range of founders supported by finalists that have benefited from investment and associated support. The event also featured keynote speeches that highlighted to importance of companies using tax advantaged venture capital schemes to help them scale up quickly, as well the need to support SMEs that are creating jobs, generating tax revenue and helping to drive Britain’s economic recovery.

The economic importance of tax advantaged venture capital schemes was a theme for two keynote speeches at the ceremony.

Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool and Chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, said “Venture capital initiatives like the EIS, SEIS and the Angel Co Fund are good.  They should not be tinkered with, but instead widely promoted and become a truly stable if not permanent part of the access to finance ecosystem.”  He lent his weight to the campaign, “I hope that the Growth Investor Awards can continue to scale up, to go from strength to strength and show the positive impact that the SME investment community is having in generating growth, jobs and wealth.”

Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, founder of Cobra Beer and founding chairman of the UK India Business Council, highlighted the problems that tax advantaged venture capital schemes are designed to address, “When you start, you have zero credibility, nobody knows you, nobody knows your brand. So why should somebody finance you?  And I remember raising finance was the most difficult thing. When you do find investors, they believe in you and they back you”

After two rounds of shortlisting, an online public vote and a final round of judging; Eve Sleep claimed the inaugural Growth Champion of the Year Award. This award recognises companies that have used growth capital in the best ways possible, with the aspirations to ‘scale up’ their business, expand their market share, deliver economic benefits to their region or local community and even to fund international expansion. Each of the eight finalists has optimised EIS, SEIS or VCT funding to successfully scale-up their businesses.

Between them the eight finalists shortlisted for the Growth Champion of the Year Award have received over £120 million of venture capital, with an average investment of just under £17.5 million. Together, they employ over 2,800 people and are expected to achieve turnover in excess of £310 million this year. Half of the finalists are already expanding overseas, three of them are located outside London, and the sectors they work in range from Food & Drink, to Media, Technology and general business enterprises.

Jonothan McColgan won the highly coveted Financial Adviser of the Year prize at last night’s 2016 Growth Investor Awards, with Stephen Jones of Clear Solutions Wealth & Tax Management taking the runner-up spot. Strong competition came from Ed Holder of Holder & Combes, Jamie Perkins of Westminster Wealth and Richard Spacey of CH1 Investment Partners.

UBS took the Wealth Manager of the Year Award, from strong shortlist of Ascot Lloyd (runner-up), Barclays Wealth, Carrington Investments and Westminster Wealth.

These awards recognise individual advisers and wealth management firms that actively promote alternative investments and were judged on how they optimise research and education, how they apply expertise to add value for clients, and how they promote such investments as part of their investment proposition.

Octopus Investments was one of the night’s big winners, being named Growth Investor of the Year, for the second year running, and Best BPR Investment Manager in a very competitive category of twelve entrants.  Judges said, “Octopus provide market leading support for advisers, they innovate constantly and use their scale effectively to advise and support investee companies.”

Syndicate Room, the online equity investment platform, also picked up two accolades. They were named Best Investment Platform for the second year running and also Industry Game-Changer.  Judges were impressed by, ”their democratic philosophy and innovations such as their EIS fund, tie up with the London Stock Exchange to give retail investors access to IPOs and their referral arrangement with Ratesetter.”

Other winners included YFM Equity Partners who claimed Best VCT Investment Manager and Calculus Capital who took the crown of Best EIS Investment Manager from MMC Ventures, who were runner-up in two categories this year. Puma Investments took the inaugural Best AIM Investment Manager and Symvan Capital was named Best SEIS Investment Manager. Cyrus Investment Management was recognised as having made the Most Impactful Investment, for preserving an important industrial sector in the real economy and for saving existing jobs. Exit of the Year went to Beringea for jewellery brand Monica Vinader.

Daniel Kiernan, IP’s Research Director who headed up the Advisory Board, commented: “By designing a judging process around impact beyond investment on investee companies, the Growth Investor Awards enables the industry to demonstrate its unique contribution while differentiating its leading players. The credibility and prestige of these awards comes from an influential advisory board and an eminent panel of independent judges.”

Sam Smith, Founder and CEO of FinnCap, was selected by the advisory board as the 2016 Industry Champion for her work in championing and promoting AIM.   Sam founded the firm in 2007 and remains the only female CEO of a City Broking Firm. FinnCap tops the rankings of nominated adviser and broker to AIM companies.  She is an active mentor, championing the industry, careers in business, entrepreneurship and alternative investment.

The 2016 Growth Investor Awards campaign are supported by partners including the BVCA, EISA, UKCFA, The Centre for Entrepreneurs, The Entrepreneur Network and The Supper Club. The awards are supported by a family of sponsors including Smith & Williamson, Beauhurst, Bovill, Bates Wells Braithwaite Compliance, La Fosse Associates, LGBR Capital, Mainspring, RAM Capital Partners, MICAP, and RW Blears, Money Marketing and Fund Strategy.

Full list of 2016 Growth Investor Award Winners


  • Winner: Sam Smith, Founder and CEO at finnCap

EXIT OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Bovill

  • Winner: Beringea
  • Runner-up: YFM Equity Partners


  • Winner: Cyrus Investment Management
  • Runner-up: Foresight Group


  • Winner: Syndicate Room
  • Runner-up: Crowdcube

BEST INVESTMENT PLATFORM, sponsored by Bates Wells Braithwaite

  • Winner: SyndicateRoom
  • Runner-up: Seedrs


  • Winner: Symvan capital
  • Runner-up: Daedalus


  • Winner: Octopus Investments
  • Runner-up: TIME Investments


  • Winner: PUMA Investments
  • Runner-up: Unicorn

BEST EIS INVESTMENT MANAGER, sponsored by Mainspring Fund Services

  • Winner: Calculus Capital
  • Runner-up: MMC Ventures


  • Winner: YFM Equity Partners
  • Runner-up: Albion


  • Winner: Jonothan McGolgan
  • Runner-up: Stephen Jones

WEALTH MANAGER OF THE YEAR, sponsored by RAM Capital

  • Winner: UBS
  • Runner-up: Ascot Lloyd

GROWTH CHAMPION OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Smith & Williamson

  • Winner: Eve Sleep
  • Runner-up: Carwow
  • Highly commended: notonthehighstreet.com

GROWTH INVESTOR OF THE YEAR, sponsored by Beauhurst

  • Winner: Octopus Investments
  • Runner-up: MMC Ventures
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