We are really pleased to announce that Return Fund #5 has made its first investment: Mentor Group.

Our first transaction for the new Fund is a £2m initial secondary investment with a further primary tranche to follow later this year in Mentor Group, a leading supplier of sales transformation services and technology.

Mentor enables customers to drive measurable and sustainable improvements in the performance of their salespeople and operations. The company was already well on the way to complete digitisation of its products and services before the pandemic so adjusted to the virtual world seamlessly. Mentor has an established base of enterprise scale customers, predominantly in the TECH industry. The enhanced digital offerings allow an additional focus on high-growth scale-up companies, often backed by venture capital.

Shackleton Managing Partner Hugh Stewart commented: “I am delighted to be investing in Mentor. I was introduced to co-founders Chris Norton and Jim McManus by Non-Executive Chairman Bryan Taylor who chaired two previous successful Shackleton investments – payments company Creditcall and simulation software developer DEM Solutions. As a VC, I know that the most important thing is to get the sales operation working well – achieve that and you’re already locking in a good return. That’s what Mentor can do.”

Jim McManus said: “It’s great news to have Shackleton on board. They’re a seasoned investor with many successes under their belt and they really understand how to help a company like Mentor and enable us to take advantage of the considerable opportunities ahead.”

Chris Norton added: “We’re passionate about growth at Mentor. This investment continues our technology drive, increasing our digital products and services to our clients and the marketplace to drive growth.”

Return Fund #5 focuses on three B2B technology sectors:  Advanced Engineering/CleanTech, Healthcare, and Digital Transformation. The majority of investments will be in established and scale-up companies with proven business models.   Deals will comprise both individual companies and portfolios of investments. The Fund will combine secondary purchases from existing investors with the deployment of fresh capital directly into companies.

Return Fund #5 is aimed at sophisticated individual investors, family offices, and institutions, and targets a 2.5 times return – consistent with the performance achieved by Shackleton’s four existing funds.  It is managed by Shackleton’s authorised fund management subsidiary Shackleton Finance Limited and is advised by joint venture partner Ruffena Capital Limited.

Shackleton Partner Deborah Hudson says: “We have had a great run of recent profitable exits and are now excited to focus on deploying fresh capital.  We are seeing an increasing number of superb opportunities, driven by the pandemic, by the green agenda, and by entrepreneurs’ anxiety about future tax rates.  This is a propitious moment to launch the Fund, and a very exciting first investment.”