Entrepreneurs fret over how to find backers, but how do venture-capital and private-equity firms themselves raise money? Helix, founded by former Schroders and Continental Bank colleagues Ian Simpson, John Hess and Charles Cecil, advises clients, including Graphite Capital, on how to raise funds from financial institutions in exchange for about 2% of the capital raised. Earnings grew as the company completed larger projects more quickly and as the European private-equity market improved. In 1999, Helix says it helped Graphite to raise £260m, while in 2003 the figure was closer to £380m. Profits rose 71% a year from £1.7m in 2001 to £8.3m in 2004, when it achieved the highest margin on the league table.
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