Seedrs is aiming to bring VCTs to a new generation of investors.

ProVen VCTs, managed by Beringea, will be the first venture capital trust fundraise on the crowdfunding platform.

Since their introduction in 1995, VCTs have played a vital role in making the UK a hub for entrepreneurship and venture capital.

These funds raise money from investors across the UK, who, in turn, benefit from a series of tax reliefs for committing their money to back riskier high-growth companies. Investors receive 30% income tax relief on their investment, providing the shares are held for a minimum of five years, but any dividends paid by VCTs are tax-free and there is no capital gains tax on the disposal of the shares.

Over the past three decades, the industry has grown substantially and more than £6 billion is now managed by VCTs, providing financial firepower to more than 1,100 startups and scaleups across the country.

VCTs have been instrumental to the growth of Depop (pictured), Zoopla, Graze and Quantexa – the UK’s latest unicorn.

Historically, however, they have catered to an older demographic of investor: according to research by the Venture Capital Trust Association in 2022, the average age is 56.

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The ProVen VCTs are two of the UK’s largest and longest-standing VCTs. Since the launch of ProVen VCT in 2000 and ProVen Growth and Income VCT in 2001, the funds have been behind many of the UK’s entrepreneurial success stories – among them electric vehicle charging network Chargemaster, acquired by BP in 2018.

They have grown to more than £330 million under management and a portfolio spanning 52 startups and scaleups, including MPB, a platform for buying and selling pre-owned camera equipment which raised £50m in its Series D in 2021, and CreativeX, an AI-enabled platform used by the likes of Google, Meta, Amazon and Nestlé to analyse the performance of visual marketing, which raised $25m in its Series B in 2022.

Seedrs provide eligible investors with the opportunity to invest in the ProVen VCTs.

“Since 2012, Seedrs has led the way in democratising the venture capital industry, pioneering innovative ways of allowing money to flow into the startup ecosystem,” said Tom Hörbye, director LP & co-investments, Seedrs. 

“In recent years, this has included enabling Europe’s leading VC funds like Passion Capital, Seedcamp and JamJar to broaden investor access on our platform through our revolutionary VC Fund Product. 

“Now, we are excited to bring the exciting VCT asset class to our investors, offering them the opportunity to invest in the trusts that fuel some of the UK’s most innovative businesses.” 

Karen McCormick, chief investment officer at Beringea, commented: “VCTs are the best kept secret of the UK venture capital industry. We have a long history of delivering returns through actively backing many of the country’s best-known startup successes.

“The experience and scale that has been built up over this time means VCTs, particularly given their tax benefits, are attractive investments. 

“We are therefore working hard to ensure that new audiences of investors – many of whom are already angel investing or dipping their toe into new products such as cryptocurrency – are able to access their benefits.”

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