Scotland’s first minister seizes the initiative as health tech fund is launched
A TRANSATLANTIC HEALTH TECH FUND worth $125m has been launched in San Francisco to attract investment from US and global companies for development in Scottish health technology.
Set up by Edinburgh-based venture capital firm Par Equity, the fund will be located in the west coast city with its first office opening as Frist Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave her speech to Stanford University yesterday (Tuesday 4 April).
Founded in 2008, the fund’s aim is to help support Scottish companies expand into the American market and develop new industries in the Scottish economy abroad.
It will also help to bring US companies and investment to Scotland.
“The Par Equity Fund will be the first Scottish venture capital firm to be fully regulated in both the UK and the US and I hope this will be the first of many success stories in our health technology sector.” Nicola Sturgeon
William Guilfoyle, managing director of Par Equity, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to work with Scotland’s international leadership team in facilitating medical technology investment across the US and UK, which will promote strong growth while enhancing the lives of both Scottish and U.S. citizens.”
Dr Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “We have co-invested with Par Equity in some of Scotland’s most exciting and ambitious early stage growth companies and today’s announcement will open up new opportunities for many of them, as well as their peers in the US. This will also help cement Scotland’s growing reputation for its health technologies and as a great place for globally-minded companies to locate and grow.”
Par Equity has a history of aiding smaller firms in gaining investment and believes the $125m fund, focussed on health technology, will be the start of new and larger trade and capital connections between Scotland and America. The launch also came as the first minister gave an address outlining the political priorities of Scotland on the international stage in terms of trade and foreign policy.
The company has built the portfolio of companies involved in cancer detection such as PathXL and QSpine which designs technology to improve spine surgery.
Pitching Scotland as a “dynamic and open” place to invest, Sturgeon emphasised that although Scotland has successful industries such as salmon, whisky, engineering and oil and gas her job was to develop and market its potential in future technologies and the renewable revolution.
However, there have been concerns that venture capital firms can come with a degree of risk. The Herald today (Wednesday 5 April) revealed that US investors had used controversial Scottish “zero-tax” shell firms in a £6.4bn takeover of the Formula One franchise. The Scottish Government has made clear that no such risk to investment or ethics would affect Scottish public bodies or taxpayers.
“We are excited for the opportunity to work with Scotland’s international leadership team in facilitating medical technology investment across the US and UK.” William Guilfoyle
Currently, according to the Scottish Government, the US is Scotland’s top source of inward investment, as it accounts for 36 per cent of inward investment projects. The US is also Scotland’s second largest export partner with a sum of £4.56bn a year worth of exports, approximately 15.9 per cent of all its international exports.
The first minister said: “Scotland’s performance in the science and technology sector continues to grow and this announcement is testament to its success both at home and abroad.
“The Par Equity Fund will be the first Scottish venture capital firm to be fully regulated in both the UK and the US and I hope this will be the first of many success stories in our health technology sector.”
Nicola Sturgeon will remain in the states until the end of the week and is due to give a speech at the UN women’s summit on leadership and women in conflict.
Picture courtesy of Scottish Government
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