The leisure sector faces very different challenges from the more tech-focused companies that most EIS and VCTs focus on. Harry Heartfield of Edition Capital specialises in this area and gives insights into its past, present and future.
We start by chatting about the challenges that COVID-19 brought. We talk about how leisure companies coped with their doors being closed and how they managed finances to survive. We also discuss how companies maintained brand awareness, so people would come back when they were allowed. Harry contrasts the challenges that different businesses had and how they coped.
The discussion then turns to the current environment. Harry talks about some of the changes in the market, including relationships with landlords and availability of capital. His inherent optimism comes through, even with a recession coming, underpinned by the belief it will be a lot milder than what companies have been through recently.
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Harry Heartfield, Senior Partner of Edition Capital, has over 15 years’ experience in the leisure sector. In 2011, he joined boutique asset manager Ingenious, becoming a Senior Investment Manager in its Live Entertainment Team; he worked across multiple investment funds including several Venture Capital Trusts with a focus on leisure assets. He also developed and launched several investment products aimed at the retail market, including EIS products which raised more than £25m, and was Head of Investments and Acquisitions for Impresario Festivals plc until the sale of the business to media group Global for more than £28m.
He set up Edition alongside the other Edition Partners in 2015. At Edition, he has overseen the development of Edition EIS and Edition Capital Projects, which have raised over £50m between them. He also was appointed as Strategic Advisor to Superstruct Entertainment (a Providence Equity backed company) from 2017 to 2020 as it made its first acquisitions including Sziget Cultural Management (Hungary) and elrow (Spain). In total, Harry has overseen deals in excess of £220m across the UK and Europe. He sits on the board of a number of Edition’s investee companies including WatchHouse Coffee, Borrow A Boat and Tailwise.