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Spectrum Interactive acquires UK Explorer – First successful exit for The Capital Fund


The Capital Fund has become the first of the nine regional venture capital funds to achieve a profitable exit following the acquisition of UK Explorer, one of the Fund’s investee companies, by Spectrum Interactive Limited. UK Explorer, a provider of wired and wireless Internet access solutions for hotels and airports, boasts blue chip clients including Compass Group, BAA, Holiday Inn Hotels and Travelex. The Capital Fund has made a 30% internal rate of return on its investment.

The Capital Fund is a £50 million venture capital fund which backs fast-growing, small and medium-sized enterprises in Greater London. The Fund’s Investment Manager, Michael Kennedy, said:
“We congratulate UK Explorer on completing a very successful trade sale to Spectrum Interactive, the UK’s leading independent payphone and internet kiosk operator. When The Capital Fund invested in UK Explorer in March 2004, we knew that the Wi-Fi and Internet terminal market was a particularly dynamic one that could change dramatically as established and start-up businesses received large amounts of funding from venture capitalists. The management team have built a profitable business and an impressive list of customers and locations since its foundation in 1998, and both the management team and The Capital Fund believe that this is the right time to exit the company.

We are the first regional venture capital fund to make a profitable exit – an important endorsement of our ability to identify, invest in, grow, and profitably exit from innovative new enterprises.”

Richard Stubbs, Managing Director of UK Explorer, said:
“We are delighted to achieve a sale to Spectrum Interactive on terms that recognise the real value we have created with UK Explorer. We started out as a two-strong management team of first-time entrepreneurs, and have built a business that provides an effective solution for the thousands of travellers who need quick and easy access to the Internet while passing through airports or staying in hotels. Our terminals are secure, reliable and strong enough to withstand heavy use at airports while also being elegant enough to suit the requirements of the modern hotel lobby. And our fully-automated wireless access points (Wi-Fi Hotspots) provide seamless connection for laptops and PDAs.

Mr Stubbs praised the role played by The Capital Fund:
“The Capital Fund’s investment in March 2004 has played a vital role in our expansion, enabling us to realise a number of significant contract opportunities and double our Internet access points in one year to over 800 across the UK. We have also attracted strong interest from the USA.”

Mark Lewarne, Chief Executive of Spectrum Interactive, said:
“We were attracted by the opportunity to acquire UK Explorer because they have developed a proven and comprehensive solution, enabling travellers with or without PCs to access the Internet quickly and conveniently, combined with first class customer service. UK Explorer are one of our key competitors in the UK marketplace, and we have always admired their entrepreneurial approach and excellent product offering. The combination of UK Explorer with Spectrum’s interactive services division will consolidate our group’s position as one of the largest providers of public fixed and wireless internet access terminals in the UK, with over 1,000 units in operation.”

PHOTO AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
Michael Kennedy, Investment Manager of The Capital Fund with Richard Stubbs, Managing Director of UK Explorer.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. THE CAPITAL FUND
Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Manager.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 811127 Email: m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Launched in 2002, The Capital Fund is a £50 million venture capital fund which backs fast-growing, small and medium-sized enterprises in Greater London. Initial investments can be up to £250,000 and the Fund can invest a further £250,000 after six months or more. In some circumstanc


Publisher Contact Information:

The Capital Fund
+44 (0)1865 811127
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Company profile of The Capital Fund
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