Forward Partners announces first portfolio company exits since its admission to AIM

Ryde Delivery Driver

Delivery driver from Ryde

Forward Partners, the London-based venture capital firm, announces its first portfolio company exits since its admission to AIM in July.

Forward Partners has exited its investments in Wonderbly, the publishing platform for personalised children’s books, and Heights, the brain health and
cognition supplements company for a total of £5 million.

The proceeds from the divestments will be reinvested in Forward Ventures and Forward Advances, in line with the IPO strategy.

The Company, which invests in start-ups across eCommerce, digital marketplaces, and applied AI, exited from Wonderbly following private equity firm Graphite Capital’s acquisition of the direct-to-consumer platform. Forward Partners realised £2.8m in this transaction.

The total cash return from the Wonderbly investment, including £0.5m from a partial sell-down in 2015, stands at £3.3m, valuing its stake at 0.98x the carrying NAV held on the 31st of March 2021.

It represents a 13.1x cash on cash return and 103% IRR. Forward Partners has also exited from supplements brand Heights, facilitated by a third-party

Forward Partners saw a total cash return of £2.2m from Heights, valuing its stake at 2.05x the carrying NAV held on 31st of March 2021. It represents a 2.3x cash on cash return and 29% IRR.

Forward Partners also announced a £1 million investment in Ryde, the on-demand delivery driver platform, as part of a £2.5 million fundraise round alongside Triple Point and existing investors including Seedcamp.

Ryde supplies delivery drivers on demand to grocery and eCommerce businesses. The company plans to use the funds to launch its fleet and rider management tools, enabling customers to manage internal and external delivery personnel under one platform.

Nic Brisbourne, CEO of Forward Partners, said: “After our successful IPO, it’s fantastic to announce two strong exits and our new investment in Ryde. It’s been great to partner with both Wonderbly and Heights to accelerate their growth and we’re pleased to welcome Ryde to the Forward family.

“With significant cash returns to our balance sheet and a strong pipeline of potential investments, our momentum is robust. The UK really is leading the charge when it comes to eCommerce, AI and Marketplace innovation.

“Our ‘permanent capital’ approach means we are perfectly positioned to grow strong businesses that will be the building blocks to our economic recovery. Exciting times are ahead.”