Apiary Capital, the UK-focused firm led by former Bowmark Capital partner Mark Salter, has closed its first fund, exceeding its hard cap of £150m with a final close of £200m.

Apiary Capital Partners I was “significantly oversubscribed”, according to the firm, and was fully allocated within six months of its launch. It held its first close around April and was said to have attracted strong interest in the US, Real Deals revealed.

The fund has been backed by blue chip, institutional investors: endowments, foundations, pension funds, insurance companies and funds-of-funds from across the US, the UK and Continental Europe.

The firm will target companies in the business services, education and healthcare sectors in the UK’s lower mid-market. It will seek to drive transformational growth through roll-ups, roll-outs and strategic mergers.

Salter said: “This is a significant milestone for Apiary Capital, having closed our maiden fund at its hard-cap and within a short time frame. Apiary Capital Partners I has a clear investment strategy and we can now look forward to putting its capital to work.

“Indeed, we have already identified a number of high-quality investment opportunities in our target sectors of business services, healthcare, and education, and are in advanced discussions with several of them,” he added.

Apiary Capital was founded last year following Salter’s departure from Bowmark after 16 years at the firm.

Salter has been joined by former colleague, chief operating officer and partner Nikola Sutherland; former August Equity director Rob Simpson who joined as partner and will head up origination; and partner Nicki Boyd who has previously held roles at NBGI Private Equity and Inflexion Private Equity.

Rede Partners acted as placement agent with Proskauer Rose providing legal advice.