Published June 4, 2018

GCP realises its investment in etc. venues

Growth Capital Partners (GCP), the UK SME specialist private equity firm, has realised its investment in contemporary city centre event space host, etc.venues, which is to expand into the United States and beyond in a new partnership with US investors Gencom and Colony NorthStar, investing alongside Benchmark, a global hospitality company.

The collaboration will spur the global expansion of Benchmark and etc.venues in urban and destination sites in both Europe and the US and the deal provides an exit for GCP at a money multiple of 4.8x for GCP Fund III.

GCP invested to support the secondary MBO of etc.venues in November 2012, backing a venue roll-out plan focused on large premium conference venues in London and regional expansion to Manchester. Six new venues have been opened since 2012 and there are now 15 UK venues, hosting 750,000 delegates a year at 17,000 events in over 250 rooms. In 2017, the group opened 68,000 sqft of conference and event space at London’s iconic, listed riverside venue County Hall.

Alastair Stewart, managing director of etc.venues, says: “GCP have been an excellent UK investor for us and helped us treble the size of the business in five years. Their partnership investment model and support for our strategy, together with a distinctive funding structure that has facilitated significant investment for growth, have enabled our ambitious plans to be achieved. We’ve long been planning expansion into the US and this new partnership with Gencom and Benchmark will now make that happen and allow us to focus on our next stage of growth and innovation. It’s very exciting.”

James Blake, Managing Partner at GCP, said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Alastair, Paul and the etc.venues team over the last 5 years and to have seen the business successfully complete a number of landmark new venue projects whilst expanding its innovative service offering, client base and excellent market position. The business is now exceptionally well set for future international growth and we wish the team all the best for the future.”


Funder – GCP: James Blake, Richard Shaw, James Salter

Vendor CF – Canaccord Genuity: Chris Robinson, Ben Spencer, Maxime Geraudie

Vendor Legal – Dickson Minto: Ewan Gilchrist, Alasdair Proudfoot, John Waller, Robert Norman, Andrew McAlpine

Management CF – Jamieson Corporate Finance: David Kirkpatrick

Management Legal – Osborne Clarke: Tim Hewens, Seamus McKimm

Tax – PWC: Daniel Harris, Catherine Kay

Further Details:


GCP currently manages funds of £300 million. It has 9 investment companies in its portfolio including:

· DMW Group, specialist IT consultancy focused on cloud, data and security services

· First Mile, Waste and recycling collections provider

· AMG Group, supplier of branded outdoor equipment

· Shorterm Group, Specialist technical engineering recruitment and training company

· Arrow Business Communications, business communications service provider

GCP typically invests in businesses with an enterprise value of between £10m and £50m in management buy-outs, development capital and minority partnership investments.

GCP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

etc.venues is a leading provider of city centre non-residential venues. It has 15 UK venues and specialises in the conference, meetings, training & events market, hosting 750,000 delegates a year at 17,000 events in over 250 rooms. In 2017 it opened 68,000sqft of conference and event space at London’s iconic, listed riverside venue County Hall, and opened its first Manchester venue.

Gencom is a Miami based investment firm that owns, operates and develops property around the world, with an emphasis on luxury hotels, resorts and branded residential properties; and is also an active owner of/and investor in hospitality operating platforms.

BENCHMARK, headquartered in Houston, Texas is a trailblazer in the development, management, marketing and owner-advisory services of resorts, hotels, conference centers and exclusive private clubs. etc.venues will join a suite of Benchmark hospitality services brands: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, Gemstone Collection, Benchmark Conference Centers and the Benchmark Owner Advisory Group. The partnership means that Benchmark will now operate across three continents, with a total of 80 properties in North America, the Caribbean, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Photo image by Matthew Joseph