Experienced growth investor Charlie Winward is the latest partner to join Leeds-headquartered YFM Equity Partners (YFM), adding further portfolio support as the firm targets significant growth, with the number of portfolio businesses expected to grow by around 40% over the next three years.
Based at YFM’s London office and working across its offices in London and Reading, Charlie takes on the new role of head of portfolio (South), complementing colleague Steve Harrison who is head of portfolio (North), supporting the teams in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
With almost 20 years’ experience, Charlie began his career as a technologist at JP Morgan, working in a variety of roles in London, New York and Brussels. He then completed an MBA at the University of California before joining IP Group plc in 2007. Charlie’s work there included supporting the rapid growth of several companies and, latterly, he was the board director responsible for IP Group’s venture capital fund management.
From 2016, Charlie co-led the VCT team at NVM, including re-launching the firm’s growth investment strategy, which included successfully building out a team of investors and growing the portfolio to over 40 investments. While at NVM, he invested in Evotix Ltd, a leading health & safety software specialist, and Cambridge medical device business Medovate Ltd. Charlie subsequently helped to deliver the sale of the NVM VCT business to Mercia and integrate the teams in 2019/20.
As well as direct support to the portfolio, in his new role, Charlie will oversee YFM’s portfolio support in the South. YFM will continue to build its portfolio which contains a mix of high growth businesses seeking to scale rapidly; more established, profitable businesses with clear growth plans in the main supported by management teams taking ownership for the first time.
Charlie comments: “As soon as I started talking to YFM, I could see that their supportive partner approach, particularly working with founders and providing follow-on investment, aligned with my own. YFM has a strong reputation within the industry, illustrated by their rapid, successful fundraising, and they also have some ambitious expansion plans.
“Having worked first-hand with a number of fast-growing businesses, this is an exciting opportunity to add value as the firm continues to scale.”
David Bell, head of portfolio at YFM, said: “With our current 44-strong portfolio forecast to grow significantly over the next few years, we are strengthening our portfolio management structures to ensure we can continue to be a strong partner for all our portfolio businesses as our own business scales. Charlie’s appointment forms a key part of this strategy, enabling the team to actively support our enlarged portfolio and to communicate effectively with all our stakeholders.
“Charlie’s experience and varied career as a tech investor makes him ideal to lead our portfolio across the South. Like us, he appreciates that focusing on success and supporting our investee businesses on their continued growth journey is vital.”
YFM has a strong track record across all the UK regions with recent 2021 deals in the South including the growth capital investment into Bournemouth-based film visual effects company, Outpost; the management buyout of Essex-based property services compliance business, RGE; and the growth capital investment into London-based software and service business, Vuealta.