British Business Investments (BBI), a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has completed a commitment of €40m to the first close of Harbert/Claret European Growth Capital Fund III. Other investors include the European Investment Fund. The fund will provide growth debt to early stage, fast growing, technology focused smaller businesses in the UK and Europe.

BBI aims to increase the supply and diversity of finance for smaller businesses by boosting the lending capacity of challenger banks and non-bank lenders. Since it was established in 2014, BBI has committed over £2.5bn to providers of finance to UK smaller businesses.

Spun out from Harbert, Claret Capital Partners is led by David Bateman and Johan Kampe, who have an established track record of over 15 years in growth lending. The fund’s investment advisory team is based in London and targets high growth businesses.

Judith Hartley, CEO, British Business Investments, said: “British Business Investments’ objective is to ensure smaller businesses can access as diverse a range of finance options as possible, to help them grow and succeed. This additional €40m commitment to Claret Capital Partners’ new fund supports this objective. For early stage, high growth businesses, venture debt can be the key to unlocking rapid growth without reducing control of their business.”

David Bateman, Managing Partner, Claret Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with British Business Investments and look forward to supporting growth businesses in all parts of the UK and Europe.”

Claret Capital Partners has raised substantial additional commitments into the fund and Fund III expects to complete its first investment shortly. The commitment from British Business Investments follows an earlier commitment to Harbert European Growth Capital Fund II in 2017.

Claret’s earlier fund, in which British Business Investments is also an investor, continues to invest in existing portfolio companies.

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