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The Blackfinch Spring VCT will give investors exposure to a range of early-stage technology-enabled investments. It is targeting a dividend yield of 5% from FY’24, with special dividends if realisations permit.

Why Invest

Positives

  • Strategy: Exposure to a portfolio of technology-enabled companies, with good management and large markets that are starting to scale up.

Issues

  • New VCT: This VCT was only launched in 2019 and has a limited portfolio so far.

The Management

Positives

  • Team: There is a diverse range of experience in the team, with a clear strategy and well-designed processes.

Issues

  • Small team: The Ventures team in Blackfinch is small, but is expanding ahead of expected future growth.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Dividends: New VCT, so none paid to date. Target of 5% from FY’24, plus special dividends as appropriate.
  • Diversification: Currently, the VCT has two investments, but Blackfinch has an active deal pipeline, and this will improve.
  • Buybacks: At a 5%-10% discount to NAV, subject to available reserves and board approval.

Fees

  • Fees: Overall fees and expenses are subject to a 3.5% cap (excluding performance fee). It seems likely that this cap will be applied until the VCT is much larger.
  • Performance fee: At 20%, subject to a 130p minimum, which effectively favours early investors.

Risks

  • Target returns: A target return of 2.5x for individual investments suggests the strategy is high-risk investment.
  • Companies: Supplying risk capital to early-stage technology-enabled companies at the start of scale-up. There will be a spread of company returns, as the successful investments will do very well, but those that fail may do so completely.
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