James Brookner

Award-winning investment specialist Blackfinch has bolstered its investment division’s senior management team with the appointment of James Brookner, who joins as Ventures Director.

A former consultant at Accenture, where he worked on projects in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and digital innovation, James is the co-founder of three companies including one operating in the enterprise software space.

With a master’s degree in Finance, Leadership and Management, he brings more than 13 years’ experience to the role having also previously worked at Station 12 Ventures where he was involved in multiple early-stage transactions.

He later joined Velos Growth Capital Partners where he led multiple transactions – including raising funds and taking on board roles – and most recently worked at Barclays Ventures where he sought out investments aligned to the bank’s growth strategy in FinTech and cybersecurity.

Commenting on his appointment, James says he is ‘looking forward’ to building Blackfinch’s investment portfolio and backing innovative technology driven companies that reflect the firm’s environment, social and governance (ESG) values.

Earlier this year, Blackfinch revealed it had raised a total of GBP10.4 million through its EIS Ventures Portfolios in the tax year ending April 2021, which has been invested in innovative start-up and early-stage technology companies across the UK in a variety of industry sectors.

A further GBP5.8 million was raised through its Spring Venture Capital Trust (VCT) which invests primarily in companies at the start of their growth journey.

The EIS portfolio now includes businesses such as Candidate.ID, Staffcircle and Kokoon, as well as digital vendor management platform Broolyn Vendor Assurance, global client engagement platform Clientshare, embedded integration platform Cyclr, real-time market research company OnePulse and hyper-realistic text-to-speech platform LSTN.

Dr Reuben Wilcock who leads the Blackfinch Ventures team, said: “James has an impressive amount of experience working with fast growth tech-enabled companies that are indicative of the sort of businesses that form our own Ventures portfolio.

“His hands-on approach will add further value to those businesses that choose us as their investment partner, and we are delighted to have him onboard.”

James added: “Blackfinch is a truly innovative business with a clear sense of direction and strong ESG values.

“The Ventures team in particular is well known for targeting high-growth opportunities, as well as supporting start-ups, and early stage and growth stage businesses with technological potential, and that’s an approach that really resonates with me.

“I am very much looking forward to supporting companies that offer products that address real world needs, with the capability to make an impact in global markets.”

Blackfinch, which has over £500 million in assets under management and administration, focuses on tax-efficient investments, including Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), and inheritance tax (IHT) mitigation services.

In 2020 the group announced a comprehensive rebrand as part of highlighting its commitment to help create a more sustainable world through its own focus on environment, social and governance factors.