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Revealed: the mysterious tech firm backed by City grandees

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Revealed: the mysterious tech firm backed by City grandees

What do the founders of Peel Hunt, Travelex and Betfair have in common? They are all shareholders in a mysteriously low-key fintech company that has racked up £12 million of losses – and is about to raise more money.

They are among a list of blue chip investors, including Jupiter’s Edward Bonham Carter and former Rolls Royce chairman Sir Simon Robertson, who have invested in a virtually unknown business called Byhiras.

Other backers include senior figures from once famous City firms such as Mercury Asset Management, UBS Warburg, and the chairman of hedge fund group Lansdowne Partners.

What does Byhiras actually do? Everyone, including the company and its public relations (PR) advisers are coy about it. Its website, the FCA Register (it is authorised) and indeed its 28 pages of accounts, provide little clue.

The best Wealth Manager could do was obtain a statement from the company’s PR advisers. Clearly the firm is heavily involved in investment management – perhaps is attempting to revolutionise some of its processes – but more than this we cannot say.

This is what we were told: ‘Byhiras provides a solution for transparency and accountability in investment management. It is a collaboration network for the investment management industry that enables investors and their service providers to exchange information and set agreements around their investments.

‘It facilitates better outcomes for investors
by providing access to the tools needed to make better informed decisions and enables service providers to deliver better returns to their clients.’

The business was founded in 2011 and has racked up losses every year since.  For the year to March 2017, it registered a loss of £4.2 million, up from £2.8 million the previous year. During the year and subsequently it appears to have raised a further £8 million suggesting that it is gearing up for a major launch. Nearly all of its staff work in ‘technology and operations’.

In the accounts, the company states that it is still in a ‘start-up phase’ and therefore has no revenue. The results also reveal that the directors have ‘initiated plans for fundraising which are at an advanced stage’.

It states: ‘The directors are confident that
the group will be successful in raising future finance and if that is not the case, a cost reduction plan will be implemented to ensure the group continues to be a going concern and continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.’

Given its shrewd backers and the amount of cash they are investing, we can only assume Byhiras is developing something big and exciting, but it seems only time will tell what.

Byhiras’ backers & share holdings

  • Edward Bonham Carter, vice chairman of Jupiter Fund Management – 250,000
  • Garth Milne, former head of investment funds team at UBS Warburg – 195,422
  • Lloyd Dorfman, founder of Travelex – 1,341,382
  • Christopher Holdsworth Hunt, founder of Peel Hunt – 333,332
  • Charles Hadyn Cunningham, CEO at Pelham Capital – 208,333
  • Sir Simon Robertson, former chairman of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson & ex-chairman of Rolls Royce – 611,667
  • Stephen Zimmerman and Michael Marks, co-head & COO, Mercury Asset Managers – 390,845 & 140,845
  • Stuart Roden, chairman of Lansdowne Partners – 416,666
  • Viscount Hugh Garmoyle, heir apparent to the Earl Cairns – 416,666
  • Edward Wray, founder of Betfair – 352,113

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