As the economy continues to reach new lows, a group of bold investors are backing a new corporate finance and advisory firm launched in Birmingham.
Odyssey Corporate Finance, based in Baskerville House, Centenary Square, is the brainchild of former accountant Mike Yiannis, who has a record of successful corporate finance work in the Midlands.
And he said Odyssey was set up to take advantage of the first opportunities as the economy recovers, while venture capitalists and banks are still wary of going into the market.
Odyssey is backed by a group of private investors made up of contacts and clients of Mr Yiannis. It advises entrepreneurs, businesses and financial institutions on a wide range of transactions and strategic matters.
The focus is on mid-market deals of up to £100 million in value, including company sales, acquisitions, buy outs, fund raising and shareholder restructuring. Odyssey is also a retained financial adviser to a number of substantial private businesses, sitting on their board in a non-executive capacity.
The firm was officially founded last October, but is now looking to make its mark on Birmingham’s corporate finance scene.
Mr Yiannis said: “In simple terms, Odyssey advises and invests. We are clearly living in unprecedented economic turmoil and setting up a corporate finance boutique in the midst of the credit crunch and recession is a bold move. But whilst Odyssey is a new venture, we are an established team of very experienced and well connected professionals and investors. We are confident of delivering innovative solutions and successful deals for our clients.
“We have been busy setting up the business over the last three months and have secured a number of transactions, international projects and retained clients. We look forward to continuing to work with our contacts and business partners in these challenging times.
“The reason for launching it now is to take advantage of very difficult market conditions. Banks aren’t lending, and venture capitalists are sitting on what they have got and looking after their portfolios.
“So there is a huge and immediate demand for funding. You have got owner managers that want to sell, and you have got people that want to expand.
“The difficulty is there isn’t much liquidity at the moment so we are having to work very, very hard to find the money, looking outside the City.”
Mr Yiannis, a former corporate finance advisor at Friend, said Odyssey’s shareholder base and extensive network of investors would look to make selective investments in businesses, especially where traditional sources of funding were not available.
The firm already has “double digit numbers” of clients already and is looking to raise more money to buy businesses, he said.
The success of Odyssey, which currently has three staff, but is set to take on more in the coming months, is based on the boldness of its backers, Mr Yiannis said.
“They are a cross section of businessmen from different backgrounds and sectors who have various business interests both here and overseas,” he said. “So the rationale in them joining forces with me is for me to act as a corporate financial advisor. They are very successful businessmen who have been around for 30 or 40 years. This is not the first time they have seen such turmoil.”