BGF announces successful exit from Lightfoot

Mark Roberts

BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor, has announced a successful exit from Lightfoot, a fast-growth business that creates connected vehicle technology. The Exeter-headquartered company has been acquired by Volpi Capital in a deal that has delivered a 3.1x MM return for BGF and an IRR of 51%.

Lightfoot’s highly differentiated AI technology has disrupted the UK fleet telematics sector. Likened to the ‘fitbit for cars and vans’, the platform provides drivers with real-time feedback on how they are driving and incentivises smooth and efficient performance with rewards.

BGF invested £3.2 million in Lightfoot in October 2018, with funding being used to drive growth in Lightfoot’s fleet business and support its ongoing recruitment drive.

As part of the deal, Lightfoot also welcomed Martin McCourt, former CEO of Dyson, as an investor and non-executive Chairman, following an introduction by BGF.

Launched in 2013 by Mark Roberts, Lightfoot’s in-vehicle guidance helps drivers to stay within an engine’s ‘sweet spot’, resulting in reduced accident frequency, fuel bills and environmental damage.

Lightfoot currently works with over 200 clients including blue-chip names such as Tesco, Asda and Virgin Media.

Following BGF’s investment, Lightfoot has grown significantly from £3m revenue in 2018 to over £11m in 2021. The number of fleet vehicles using its technology has also grown from 14,000 to nearly 50,000.

Mark Roberts, Founder of Lightfoot, said: “Our mission is to help businesses and drivers save fuel and reduce emissions. Thanks to our partnership with BGF, and the expertise it has brought on board, we have grown rapidly in a relatively short period of time, rewarding better driving and having a positive impact on the planet at the same time.

“Not only has BGF’s funding enabled us to scale at pace, but we’ve been grateful for their advice and support. We’re now eagerly looking to the next phase of growth and have a strong partner in Volpi Capital to help realise our ambitions for the future.”

Edwin Davies, Investor at BGF in the South West, who also sat on the board at Lighfoot, said: “Over the last three years, we have been on a fantastic journey with Lightfoot. The business has performed above expectations, going on to deliver impressive revenue growth and a rapid expansion of its user base.

“We have really enjoyed being partners to the management team as the business has scaled. It’s a true success story for the South West’s vibrant tech ecosystem and a great example of BGF’s regional model which is able to deploy capital to brilliant businesses that have the potential to thrive. The deal also represents another strong exit for BGF, which has delivered maximum value to all shareholders.”

BGF has deployed over £105 million of capital this year across the South West, Thames Valley and Wales. With local offices in Bristol, Reading and Cardiff, BGF has provided over £66 million of growth capital to new portfolio companies and more than £39 million of follow-on funding for existing businesses based across the regions.

Advisors to Lightfoot and BGF on the deal included:

  • Arrowpoint Advisory: Barry Sheehan, Jeremy Furniss, Alex Belk, Will Preston.
  • Burges Salmon: Richard Spink, Julie Book, Isaac Paine.
  • PwC (vendor DD): Tom Ayerst, David Riman, Eve Mather, Abigail Fletcher.
  • CIL (commercial DD): Tom Fletcher, Mike Hallett and Alex Hamilton.
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