Yann Souillard, head of LDC in the south, discusses accelerated business growth in Reading and the Thames Valley, which has been supported by a strong advisory community and continued investment in the thriving region
Since we established a base in Reading 18 years ago, we’ve seen the Thames Valley region develop into one of the major economic players in the South East. With projects such as Crossrail in its final stages, this level of activity is only going to increase as connectivity to the capital and other surrounding towns and cities improves.
On top of this, £200 million of funding is to be ploughed into facilities at Reading University, which will further bolster its credibility as one of the country’s fast-growing education institutions. It’s investment like this which makes an area more attractive to businesses, investors and developers, and research shows that the Thames Valley region is expected to have one of the fastest growing economies in the UK over the next two years.
Investment activity has also maintained momentum because of the region’s network of advisers and corporate finance community. We’re seeing a wealth of new opportunities in the pipeline, especially in the tech sector. This momentum is echoed elsewhere with Reading being dubbed as one of the country’s ‘silicon suburbs’ by the latest Tech Nation Report, and named amongst the UK’s top tech towns.
Last year, LDC’s Reading team backed the management team at IP Solutions, a cloud communications specialist for small and mid-sized businesses, as it embarked on the next phase of its growth journey. With well-known national names such as National Geographic, Oak Furniture Land and Secret Escapes on its books, the additional capital from LDC is enabling it to continue to grow and build scale. The deal was facilitated by a number of Reading-based advisers, who were instrumental to its success.
In light of the growing number of opportunities here, we’ve been busy over the past year investing in our team. We’ve welcomed two new members, Chris Wright and Chris Morris, to create a seven-strong investment unit here in Reading. Both investment professionals bring with them a wealth of experience and solid track record in supporting mid-market businesses, as well as developing excellent relationships within the advisory and business community.
This strengthening of the team has added further expertise to the investment portfolio looked after by our Reading team. It now collectively generates revenues of more than £460m and supports more than 3,400 jobs across the South East.
We anticipate this to increase in line with the growing regional economy, and with continued investment coming into Reading we’re confident of the opportunities that lie ahead.
Against this backdrop, we’ve pledged to support the ambitions of Britain’s mid-sized businesses with up to £1.2 billion of equity over the next three years on a national scale. Working alongside the advisory community, Reading and the wider Thames Valley region will be a key focus for us in delivering on this.