Synova Capital, the UK mid-market private equity firm, has opened an office in Midtown Manhattan and made two hires to its new US operation.
Thomas Usher has joined Synova from Summit Partners, where he worked on technology deals and helped European companies to develop US market entry strategies. Before joining Summit Usher was with Volition Partners, a specialist investor in software and tech-enabled services. He is a graduate from the University of Notre Dame.
Steve Butterworth has joined the firm as senior adviser. He was previously based in Chicago where he led the international expansion of buyout-backed legal software provider BigHand. He has subsequently advised a number of UK technology companies with plans to grow sales in the US.
Synova’s latest move will provide its portfolio companies with a platform to expand into America, a market that has been a key growth driver for the firm’s portfolio since its launch in 2007. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, the US is the UK’s single largest export market, accounting for 19 per cent of exports in the 2016/2017 financial year. UK exports to the US have grown from £70bn ($92bn) to £100bn between 2005 and 2015.
A number of other European firms, including Ardian, EQT, Eurazeo and Investindustrial, have set up US offices. Synova, however, is one of the first UK-focused growth investors to make the move, which in addition to supporting its portfolio will also put it in a position to match the offer of larger pan-European players that have launched enterprise funds to target smaller deals.
Synova invests in companies valued at between £10m and £100m in the business services, financial services, technology and healthcare and education sectors. It closed its third fund, Synova Capital Fund III, on its £250m hard cap in January last year.