Venture Capital
Development Capital
Investment Process
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  Our Business
Shackleton provides liquidity for professional investors and support to first class businesses and entrepeneurs.

Formed in 2006 our business is different from most venture firms. We specialise in direct secondary investments - where we buy a portfolio of existing investments, or an individual holding from an investor that is seeking liquidity. 

We focus on two areas: venture investments in young technology companies and development capital in more mature companies in traditional industries. We tailor our approach according to the type of investment but in all cases seek to back management teams with deep experience and insight into their company\'s markets.

Development Capital
Shackleton’s development capital investments are generally in profitable companies operating in traditional industries.  Shackleton acts as a patient and committed shareholder, willing to work with companies to achieve an agreed objective.  In most cases, other than turnarounds, management teams are highly experienced and portfolio companies are already set on a steady growth path.

Shackleton’s main contribution is likely to be in helping to realise value in accordance with the company’s aims, be it through flotation or trade sale, or a company share buyback.  Sometimes Shackleton may help in finding acquisitions, including new technology to help a company to develop a new area of growth and where appropriate Shackleton is willing to invest additional sums to achieve this.

Venture Capital
Companies in our venture portfolio are usually revenue-generating and in the main profitable.  The exceptions are typically in the medical area where development timescales are longer.

Many companies struggle for years to commercialise their product, and go through several rounds of funding before success is achieved, often beyond the timescales of their original investor. In the process, they end up with a complicated capital structure and little incentive for management.

The incoming secondary investor can view things in a new light and can help you make the changes necessary to achieve success. These may be a simpler capital structure, new management incentives or changes to strategy, often facilitated by much needed investment where that will help the company to build value towards a profitable exit for all concerned.  However, we also know that the source of ultimate success is the energy and enterprise of the management teams we back. Although we will often take a board seat, Shackleton does not believe in interfering where the ingredients are already in place for success.

The Shackleton team has extensive experience both as investors and as managers of companies at all stages of their development from initial formation through to successful trade sale or flotation.


Hugh Stewart, Managing Partner

Hugh Stewart has over three decades experience in venture capital. In 1983, he joined Electra Investment Trust plc, a quoted investment company investing in a broad range of unquoted investments. In 1989 he moved to a subsidiary of Electra’s management company that was formed to focus on technology investments. In 1997 he founded Strathdon Investments and as Chief Executive led it from start-up through to flotation on AIM prior to his leaving in 2006 to form Shackleton. Before joining Electra he spent seven years in industry in general management, marketing and planning. He holds an Economics degree and an MBA with distinction from INSEAD.

Steve Burton, Partner

Steve is a career entrepreneur having co-founded two successful companies with venture capital backing Nova Weigh Ltd and Pulsar Process Measurement Ltd he subsequently cofounded Strathdon Investments plc and Shackleton Ventures. He was previously Managing Director of Rolls-Royce subsidiary, Stresswave Technology, which he acquired in a management buyout backed by Electra. Steve is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and is experienced in all aspects of building young companies, particularly the process of turning new technology into high-margin commercial products.

Deborah Hudson, Partner

Deborah Hudson combines a strong operational background in technology with high level international strategy consulting gained over a 10 year period with McKinsey. Her early career was in technology development with British Gas plc. Prior to joining Strathdon Investments in 2000, she was Head of Business Development and e-Commerce at Britannic plc and previously was Managing Director of an international clothing company, Hardcore Jeanswear. She graduated with the Henry Ford II Engineering Scholarship from Imperial College and holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD.


Peter Cowley, Scientific & Technical Adviser

Peter served as Chief Scientist at Rolls Royce plc, prior to which he worked at the Ministry of Defence. He undertakes technology due diligence, assessment and monitoring for government funded academic and industrial research and helps small companies with product development and funding. In the latter part of his career he has served on a number of government panels, including the Technology Strategy Board, National Measurements Office, EPSRC panels in Basic Technologhy, Information Technology, Complex Systems and Systems Engineering. Peter works directly with the Universities of Manchester, Strathclyde and Southampton.


Wendy Stewart, Company Secretary

Wendy Stewart joined the Shackleton team in August 2007, having previously worked at Strathdon Investments whom she joined in 1999, gaining extensive experience in all aspects of venture capital marketing, human resources and administration. Wendy was previously assistant to the Chairman of Ducal Limited, the largest pine furniture manufacturers in the UK which grew to 800 employees during her time there. She has experience in training, tele-sales, customer services, and international exhibition management. She holds a BA Hons Social Sciences degree from Leicester University.



Susan Browne, Finance Manager
Susan Browne joined the Shackleton team as an experienced Finance Manager in 2011. She has a broad experience in Finance, with over 22 years within the Finance Departments of financial sector entities as well as industry and commerce companies. She started her career working for the accounts department of a city based reinsurance company. In 1992 she joined Kleinwort Benson, becoming a key member of the Group Finance Department. While there she identified the need and implemented the set up of an inter group company information system. Prior to joining Shackleton she worked for as an Interim Financial Controller for Adnetik Ltd a growing media IT services company, alongside working for Rockarchive Ltd a fine art photography company. During her career she has always strived to use her analytical skills to streamline processes and aid in cost control. She qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 2001 and is a Fellow of the ACCA.

Shackleton manages 4 limited partnership funds;

Shackleton Secondaries LP was formed in 2006 and was largely invested by the end of 2008 with technology assets acquired from 3i and other vendors. Following 9 successful exits, the fund retains 8 other interests. Remaining portfolio companies include Panintelligence an award-winning BI vendor and Creditcall a leading payment services provider. Exits include the sale of lending software specialist Pancredit to Equiniti, and Tinglobal to Singapore-based Procurri.

Shackleton Secondaries II LP was established as a successor fund with £25m initially available for investment. It has seen 9 successful exits and has a remaining portfolio of 11 development capital and technology companies, including Lewmar a leading marine equipment brand, and Omprompt a supply chain automation pioneer. Exits include the sale of Nanosight to Malvern Instruments and Murley, the agricultural supplies business to a management buy-out.

In April 2014 Shackleton formed a new fund, Shackleton Secondaries 3 LP to acquire, develop and realise the assets from three underlying funds previously managed by Sigma Capital Group plc. The fund has ten investments, all based in Scotland, in companies involved in IT, food technology and energy saving. Portfolio companies include internet video specialist Exterity www.exterity.com, aviation software developer AViIT www.aviit.com and engineering software company DEM www.dem-solutions.com.  The fund’s backers include leading financial, corporate and government investors.

At the same time, Shackleton assumed management of Sigma Sustainable Energies Fund II, comprising four investments in the energy sector.

Shackleton’s management team are investors in all these funds. 

The firm is named after Sir Ernest Shackleton, famed for the rescue of his entire crew after their ship became trapped in the Antarctic ice.  Shackleton demonstrated the most inspirational leadership possible, and this above all led the team to successful survival against impossible odds, with every one of his 28 men returning home.

There is one overriding lesson from Shackleton’s rescue, involving an 800 mile voyage in a cramped boat across the Southern Ocean and an unequalled climb across South Georgia.  That lesson is: Never Give up.  Shackleton Ventures shares that spirit and we will support you on your path to success.

Investment Process

Our process is rapid and discreet, and recognises the different needs of the parties involved – vendors and entrepreneurs – while constructing a deal that can make an attractive return for our investors and is therefore deliverable.

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