Written by Shona Smith on Jun 5, 2019. Posted in General Interest

New creative content fund targets independent UK screen content companies

A new EIS Fund that targets promising independent screen content companies, and looks to encourage a new wave of investors into the sector has launched in association with the British Film Institute (BFI).

The screen sector is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries, having recorded a 51% increase in production last year and contributing nearly GBP8 billion to the UK economy. In the same period, GBP3.17 billion was spent on new productions fuelled by the global demand for premium content for well-funded subscription streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. The Fund is explicitly designed to exploit this global surge in premium content by helping UK companies meet this demand.

In addition to leveraging new opportunities, the Fund is hoped to encourage a wave of new investors into the sector and ensure that growth is sustainable by developing, diversifying and expanding the pipeline of UK talent. Amanda Neville, CEO of the BFI explained  “Never before has the world been so hungry for stories, to be enjoyed on screens big and small. The UK is at the centre, the master storyteller, driving an industry that is amazingly worth almost £8 billion to the economy and growing. In the midst of this expansion we are acutely aware of the need for investment so that film and other screen content companies can scale up”.

Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold HotelThe Fund will be managed independently by Calculus Capital, a growth company investor who created the UK’s first approved EID fund 20 years ago, and Stargrove Pictures, who have overseen over GBP1 billion of investment into productions including Call the Midwife, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (pictured) and Suffragette.

Described as a “new breed of EIS fund in this sector” by John Glencross, CEO and co-founder of Calculus Capital, the focus is not on individual project finance, but rather set up to build and grow companies that are involved in a broad variety of productions over a range of platforms.

In addition, Stephen Fuss, CEO of partner Stargrove Pictures stated that “the Fund will unleash investment in the UK’s creative industries and enable independent UK screen content companies to retain a greater financial interest in the intellectual property they create so they can capitalise on their projects and talent and grow their businesses further.” Adding that “This is an exciting time for the UK creative industries. We will use our expertise to identify exciting new talent, and our experience and contacts to help investee companies to grow, innovate and succeed”.

The fund has also placed an emphasis on encouraging new investors to enter the sector. John Glencross, CEO and Co-Founder of Calculus Capital, said “We are also seeing increased merger and acquisition activity around content companies. All of this is creating compelling investment and exit opportunities for investors”.

All investments will have received advance assurance from HMRC before Calculus engages capital. The Fund is targeting £2 return for every £1 invested, over a target four to six-year investment horizon. This does not include the generous EIS tax benefits, which are in addition. It has a minimum investment of £10,000. To register interest, click here.



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