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ECI Fund IX scores 3x money, 36% IRR after final realisation

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Mid-market UK private equity house ECI Partners has hit an impressive 3x return and 36% IRR for its ninth fund after sealing its final realisation.

The 2010-vintage fund’s 15 investments included what became two tech unicorns, Auction Technology Group (ATG) and Wireless Logic.

ECI made the last exit from the £437m fund last month, tapping its eleventh fund to reinvest in virtual insurer Avantia to complete ECI 9. That deal was the tenth exit from the fund to generate a gross multiple of over 3x.

ECI said its fund strategy is to look for growth and resilience, found in specific subsectors which it focuses in on to build strength in depth, to deliver repeatable success.

Funs IX’s subsectors included IoT, online marketplaces, SME services SaaS and travel. The biggest returns in the fund came from leading IoT provider Wireless Logic (6x), online car rental aggregator CarTrawler (6x) and Citation (5x), which provides HR and Employment Law, Health & Safety and ISO Certification solutions to SMEs.

Half of the 20 bolt-on investments made across the fund were international, with a strong bias towards North America.

David Ewing, managing partner at ECI, said, “The success of this fund speaks to the strength of the brilliant founders, CEOs and management teams that we partner with, and the ECI team who work with them to unlock growth opportunities together from day one.

“ECI 9 has been another great fund for ECI and has generated impressive returns for our investors and the founders and management teams we worked with.”

ECI closed ECI 10 on its £500m hard cap in 2014 and ECI 11 on £700m in 2018.

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