WAE, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING Formula One team, has signed a collaboration agreement with Foresight Group LLP in relation to a fund, to be known as Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, which has been launched by Foresight on 17th November. The Fund is expected to target a portfolio of early stage UK SMEs with strong intellectual property in their own specialist fields, with the aim of supporting the next generation of British engineering technology success stories.
Portfolio companies of the Fund will benefit from a unique collaboration between Williams and Foresight, combining the technological expertise of the WAE team and Foresight’s successful track record as investment manager, of making and exiting investments in UK-based early and later stage SMEs.
WAE has a strong track record of incubating innovative technologies, an example of which includes Williams Hybrid Power, which was ultimately sold to GKN in March 2014, and focused on the commercialisation of a flywheel energy storage system that was originally developed for Williams’ 2009 Formula One car. The technology was first validated in motorsport by Porsche in its GT3R endurance racing car, and by Audi Sport who used the technology in its 2012, 2013 and 2014 Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron Quattro. The technology has subsequently been trialled in public transport applications where, for example, it can save fuel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% in a city bus.
Bernard Fairman, Chairman of Foresight, commented; “Following eighteen months of in depth discussions and planning, Foresight is delighted to be collaborating with the WAE team to support high quality disruptive technology leaders seeking EIS funding, in order to develop and commercialise their proposition. The unique combination of Williams and Foresight is expected to result in a diversified investment base of no fewer than 10 portfolio companies revolutionising their respective markets and delivering strong returns to investors.”
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of WAE, added: “We are very excited to be collaborating with Foresight to support exciting technology innovations across a spectrum of engineering challenges. At Williams we have been at the forefront of technological innovations for 40 years, and with WAE we are now commercialising what we have learnt across a growing range of sectors. We will be using our Formula One platform and technical expertise to assist those portfolio companies with disruptive technologies selected by Foresight, to help them transform their industries.”
Notes to Editors
WAE is the engineering services and technology division of the Williams group of companies which also includes Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited, a company that operates a leading Formula One racing team. Williams Grand Prix Engineering was formed in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head, and the company has secured 16 FIA Formula One World Championship titles since its foundation. The company’s core competencies are the design and manufacture of Formula One race cars, and the deployment of this expertise in running the team’s entries in Grand Prix each season.
Since 2010, Williams as a group has diversified its operations to offer WAE, a technology and engineering services business that places Formula One expertise at its core. Combining cutting edge technology and the industry’s best engineers with a precision and speed to market derived from four decades of success in the ultra-competitive environment of Formula One, WAE provides world class technical innovation, engineering, testing, manufacturing and operational consultancy services to the automotive, motorsport, defence, aerospace, health and energy sectors. Working in close collaboration with its customers and partners, WAE creates energy efficient performance to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.
About Foresight Group LLP
Foresight is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 30 years.
Foresight has over £2.1 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).
Foresight’s ventures team, comprising experienced investment professionals, invests between £0.25m and £2.0m in growth capital and venture capital investments in UK SME’s.
Foresight Group LLP is authorised and regulated by the FCA (FCA number: 198020). www.foresightgroup.eu
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