YFM Equity Partners (YFM), which is headquartered in Leeds, has made an additional multi-million pound investment in the UK-headquartered film and TV visual effects company Outpost VFX through its British Smaller Companies VCTs. This will enable the business to continue its rapid scale-up by investing in high calibre artistic talent, company culture and its tech infrastructure.
Outpost VFX has grown internationally and now has studios in Los Angeles, Mumbai, Montréal and London, in addition to their Bournemouth studios, which is also their global headquarters. The VFX house partners with global streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple, and with major Hollywood studios including Universal, Paramount, CBS and Lionsgate. Recent high-profile projects include Thor: Love and Thunder, House of the Dragon and Westworld. Recently, the company has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for The Man Who Fell to Earth and for Foundation, and a Visual Effects Society Award, for News of The World.
Since YFM first backed Outpost VFX in February 2021, the business has seen rapid growth, delivering 150% revenue uplift in its first full year of trading since investment. It has continued to build its team which has increased almost four-fold to service continuing growth, including strengthening its management with a number of key appointments such as Robin Shenfield who joined the board as chair, leadership teams for each of the new geographies, while also strengthening the team in the UK studio. The most recent of these hires being Rachel Matchett, as managing director in the UK and Tim Chauncey as global CTO.
In addition to funding growth capital, the initial funding from YFM has accelerated the development of Outpost’s production management IP, further developed its training and career pathways IP, and helped it to build out a unique global IT architecture. The latest funding round will enable the company to continue to develop its IT infrastructure and accelerate its global cloud transition, in order to be fully transitioned within the next 12 months. This will not only help with the business’ ongoing commitment to providing even better service to clients, but will also help Outpost to continue to differentiate itself as an employer of choice.
Duncan McWilliam, founder and CEO of Outpost VFX, said: “YFM has been a supportive partner, initially investing in us post-pandemic when others were cautious. We appreciate their ongoing support and value the fact that they share in our vision and ambitions. In addition to growing our artistic talent and tech infrastructure, further developing our company culture and scaling it globally is a priority as we, like YFM, recognise that it is our people who differentiate us. Our ongoing cloud investment will not only improve our service to clients, but will also enhance the working experience of our people. We will continue to invest in the cloud, along with integrating sophisticated project management software and training programmes.
“With demand for quality visual entertainment continuing to be high across the globe as both streaming and film production surges, there is an exciting opportunity for us to accelerate growth. We are increasingly seeing larger projects enter our facilities and we are encouraged by the visibility of a strong pipeline of work, supporting our ambition to scale our offering to support our clients and our people better. It’s great to see YFM’s confidence in our plans and we are enthused by the opportunities that the follow-on investment will enable us to pursue.”
Roux Brits, portfolio director for YFM, added: “This is our second investment in Outpost VFX in under 18 months and demonstrates not only our belief in the management team’s vision, but also YFM’s readiness to support investee businesses to take advantage of ever evolving opportunities to accelerate growth. With YFM this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, we have supported over 300 high-growth businesses and look forward to supporting many more.”
The YFM investment team comprised Roux Brits and Charles Winward. With thanks to YFM’s advisors including Evershed-Sutherland LLP (legal), Igor Boshoer (technical) and Kreston Reeves (financial).