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Newly independent Martlet Capital starts £22m deeptech fund as Marshall launches Futureworx

Marshall has announced the sale of its Martlet Capital investment arm, which funds early-stage technology start-ups in the Cambridge area.

The Prime Minister's plane after its paint job at Marshall of Cambridge. Picture: Dan Thomas, Airliner Videos
The Prime Minister's plane after its paint job at Marshall of Cambridge. Picture: Dan Thomas, Airliner Videos

Martlet was founded in 2012 as the investment arm of Marshall, the iconic Cambridge engineering and motoring company founded in 1909. The now-independent early-stage investment business is led by former Marshall vice chairman

Robert Marshall.

The development appears to confer an ending to the Marshall family’s relationship with the company that bears its name just a year after the loss of Sir Michael Marshall. Robert Marshall stood down as vice chairman of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) in 2020.

Kathy Jenkins, chief executive of Marshall, said: “Marshall is proud to have been able to help so many technology start-ups through Martlet and we look forward to seeing them progress over the years ahead. We wish Robert and his team every success as they grow Martlet Capital as an independent business.”

Marshall will continue to invest in new technology and the development of innovative products and services through its newly established Futureworx accelerator business unit, headed up by Chris Walton, working with Marshall chief technology officer Patrick Wood.

Kathy Jenkins, chief executive of Marshall
Kathy Jenkins, chief executive of Marshall

Martlet Capital is an early-stage investor based in Cambridge, which has invested in more than 60 start-ups with high growth potential, since its launch in 2011. Martlet provides patient capital for IP rich, early-stage B2B start-ups, with a primary focus on deep technology and life science companies based in Cambridge.

As executive chairman of Martlet Capital Mr Marshall has overseen the acquisition of more than 50 minority positions from Marshall Group, including companies across cleantech, sustainability, healthcare, life science, industrial and semiconductor technology. The overall targeted investment is £22m, and it will provide Martlet Capital with significant clout to make new and follow-up investments.

The newly-independent Martlet Capital has launched a funding vehicle, MarQuity, which is 40 per cent co-owned by EMV Capital alongside Saranac Partners and Martlet, and will provide scaleup capital for targeted companies from the portfolio.

Mr Marshall said: “Martlet is looking to establish itself as an important seed stage investor in the Cambridge deeptech start-up ecosystem.

A C-130J of the Royal Norwegian air force: the fleet is maintained by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group
A C-130J of the Royal Norwegian air force: the fleet is maintained by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group

“With an outstanding team and long-standing relationships with the University of Cambridge and the local technology and investment community, we aim to be the seed stage funding partner of choice. The backing and partnership with EMV and Saranac substantially enhances our ability to invest in more deeptech companies, and with the addition of the Saranac/EMV-led follow-on MarQuity fund giving us the ability to see these companies through inception all the way to exit.”

EMV Capital “intends to make” a seed investment of £100,000 in MarQuity. It plans to provide a line of credit of up to £1m to MarQuity to provide substance and an effective response to market opportunities. The investments are backed by EMV Capital’s parent company AIM-listed NetScientific plc. NetScientific CEO and EMV Capital managig director, Dr Ilian Iliev, played a lead role in the deal structuring and will join the boards of Martlet Capital and MarQuity as non-executive director.

Dr Iliev said: “This investment represents a significant step forward in EMV Capital’s growth path, through an expanded footprint, a new high-quality deal flow channel, increased capital under advisory, and developing further opportunities to deploy our capital-light investment model. We are excited to work with Martlet Capital and Saranac Partners in building a unique proposition in the world-leading Cambridge cluster.”

Robert Crowter-Jones of Saranac Partners added: “We believe that the Martlet Capital’s team and portfolio creates a very exciting platform within intellectual property emerging from the Cambridge cluster, and will be a natural home for new technologies, entrepreneurs and investors.”

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