The Development Bank of Wales has appointed a technology venture investments director.
Experienced equity investor Duncan Gray has been promoted from deputy fund manager to lead the growing team, taking over from Simon Thelwall-Jones.
A qualified chartered accountant with a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, Gray has been with the Development Bank since 2017 and has worked in venture capital and private equity for over 20 years.
His VC career started with 3i plc and most recently he worked as investment director for the Equity Fund at Finance Yorkshire.
“I feel privileged to be taking on this role to lead the technology ventures team at a unique point in its history. It’s a strong team made up of a great group of people who are all enthusiastic about technology and passionate about driving the best outcomes for us and our equity portfolio companies,” he said.
Gray will lead the Development Bank’s venture capital portfolio to drive seed and venture capital investments into technology-rich companies based in, or relocating to, Wales.
Across the business £51 million of loans and equity investments were made into 220 Welsh businesses from April to September 2021. £4.2m of direct investment into early stage, technology businesses attracted £23.2m of private sector investment during the six-month period.
This level of co-investment has more than doubled compared to the same period the year before.
“There is an endless number of industries and areas being transformed by technology across Wales,” added Gray. “The technology ventures team has been particularly successful in recent years as Wales has become home to some of the UK’s most promising tech ecosystems.
“We are very much open for business fortifying our relationships with established FinTech and MedTech communities and looking to build on this success by exploring more opportunities in emerging areas such as GreenTech and space technologies.”
The Development Bank of Wales was again ranked as one of the top five venture capital investors by deal volume in the UK, according to Beauhurst’s 2021 annual report.
The report also shows that investment into Welsh businesses has been steadily increasing in recent years. Welsh startups and scaleups secured £129m in 2020, which was a record for the country.
Giles Thorley, CEO of the Development Bank of Wales, concluded: “Duncan is highly regarded within the technology ventures industry and brings a depth of experience to this role that will be invaluable.”