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Background

A brief explanation of Mercia's logo and the history behind its name.

Background

A brief explanation of Mercia's logo and the history behind its name.

Mercia - the emblem

The Fibonacci sequence, named after Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician who lived from 1170 until 1250, is a set of numbers that starts with zero, followed by a one. It proceeds based on the rule that each number (called a Fibonacci number) is equal to the sum of the preceding two numbers:

0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34 ... and so on.

Mercia's emblem is based on the Fibonacci sequence

The Fibonacci numbers are nature's numbering system. They appear everywhere, from the leaf arrangement in plants, to the pattern of the florets of a flower, the bracts of a pinecone, or the scales of a pineapple.

The numbers are applicable to the growth of every living thing, including a single cell, a grain of wheat, a hive of bees and even, one would argue, a start-up technology business.

The Fibonacci sequence is found all around us, from flowers to pinecones

Why do these arrangements occur?

Nature has taken millions of years, through trial and error, to evolve in an efficient manner and the end result is often explained by the Fibonacci sequence. For example, sunflowers have a golden spiral seed arrangement which provides a biological advantage because it maximises the number of seeds that can be held within a seed head. You can see the parallels between this pattern and our emblem by comparing the two images above.

Fibonacci and finance

We took nature's mathematical approach and applied it to what we do: invest patiently in young companies to grow them into sustainable and valuable businesses. Many others have tried to accelerate this journey but if you review the research, we are confident that you will find that the period from initial investment to maximised return typically falls between seven and 14 years.

There are countless examples of this, ranging from Skyscanner (set up in 2003, first funding round in 2007 and sold in 2016) to Mercia's own Allinea (first investment in 2008 and sale in 2016), and Blue Prism (set up in 2001, first investment in 2005 and listed in 2016). We can apply these observations against the principles of Fibonacci for the growth of a start-up or spinout business:

Stage

Set up

First finance

Early Stage Development

Build

Years

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Fibonacci (or value?)

0

1

1

2

3

5

8

13

Stage

Scale

Years

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Fibonacci (or value?)

21

34

55

89

144

233

377

We would normally begin to consider a strategic sale or IPO for our investment from years seven or eight, whilst being mindful that, to maximise our value, an exit may not be desirable until a later stage.

There are plenty of data to demonstrate that a premature sale can cause a loss of value. We believe that the Fibonacci sequence is a great way of bringing this patient method of growth to life. It is therefore something that we put at the heart of our business, hence our emblem.

Mercia - the name

Mercia was originally a kingdom formed after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Mercia and the Midlands

Mercia is synonymous with the Midlands. The Kingdom of Mercia was formed after the fall of the Roman Empire, existing as an independent region which grew rapidly for more than 300 years from AD 600.

Mercia took over most of the major kingdoms including Wessex, Kent, Sussex and East Anglia in a period that is now known as the Mercian supremacy. At its height, the region extended almost 200 miles from Surrey, as far north as Cheshire.

The Kingdom of Mercia courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By TharkunColl at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The map shows just how far the region extended and Mercia's own growth is similar, starting from one office in the Midlands to six offices today across the UK regions, with more than 60 investment professionals and support staff.

Mercia now has six offices across the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland.

Mercia is also the Latin translation for "mierce / myrce", which means "mark" or "border", so if you happen to be called Mark you stand a good chance of joining our team!

The strapline

At Mercia, we often talk about "commercialising technologies", but what does this mean?

We often use the phrase "Commercialising tomorrow's technologies" when describing Mercia's investment model, but behind this, there is a distinct regional focus on the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland. At Mercia, we believe that the UK regions are a hotbed of untapped technology and innovation. The issue, however, is not one of simply unearthing technology breakthroughs, but of turning those discoveries into commercial opportunities. In most instances, businesses prosper based on the commercial reality of their product or service, and not just their ability to make ground-breaking discoveries.

Growing great businesses requires commercial acumen, a willingness to roll-up one's sleeves, specialist sector knowledge and a long term, or patient, approach to investment.