Parkwalk adds nanotech firm to EIS portfolios

Parkwalk Advisors has added carbon nanotube company Surrey NanoSystems to the portfolios of two enterprise investment scheme (EIS) funds.

The Parkwalk UK Technology Fund II and the evergreen Parkwalk Opportunities EIS have recently invested in the company, which was spun out of the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute in 2006.

Surrey NanoSystems develops nanomaterial technologies to address the scaling challenges facing the semiconductor industry, as copper is unlikely to be suitable for the next generation of smaller microchips.

Moray Wright, director at Parkwalk, says: “The semiconductor industry believes that carbon nanotubes may well be the replacement for copper. Carbon nanotubes are quite complicated to grow – you have to grow them on the chip rather than make them then stick them on.

“There are about six people in the world that make carbon nanotubes and Surrey NanoSystems have got the only system at the moment that can grow them on the chip at a temperature that won’t melt the chip – which is quite an advantage.” (article continues below)

The investment came as Surrey NanoSystems secured £4.5m of funding from a consortium including Parkwalk and New Wave Ventures. Octopus Ventures, IP Group and the University of Surrey also increased their funding for the company.

Surrey NanoSystems is not the only university spin-out that Parkwalk have invested in with its EIS funds. “We think this is a phenomenally interesting space with a great pipeline coming through,” Wright says.

The Parkwalk UK Technology Fund II’s portfolio holds solar cell developer Oxford Photovoltaics, which spun-out of the University of Oxford, and the University of Leeds’ Xeros, which is creating a virtually-waterless laundry system.

The Parkwalk UK Technology Fund II was launched last year and is partially invested. The firm is currently raising funds for the Parkwalk UK Technology Fund III, which is aimed at wealth managers and seeks to raise £20m.