Bournemouth-based Outpost VFX has announced that it has secured a multi-million-pound investment from funds managed by YFM Equity Partners (YFM) and appointed Robin Shenfield to the board as Chair.

The investment will “facilitate the development of Outpost’s infrastructure, company culture and proprietary platforms, and provide a solid base for expansion globally across the company’s four international locations.”

YFM’s investment will help to accelerate the incorporation of machine learning within Outpost’s production management IP, further develop its training and career pathways IP and build out a unique global IT architecture.

In 1990 Shenfield co-founded The Mill, which he successfully grew to over 1,100 employees working across the US, UK and Germany. In his time as CEO at The Mill, Shenfield attracted several rounds of private equity investment before eventually overseeing its £190m acquisition by Technicolor in 2015.

Shenfield will support Outpost VFX as it pursues a sustainable growth strategy for 2021, beginning with its expansion into Los Angeles.

Shenfield said: “Duncan and the team at Outpost have created a culture that really values the contribution of artists in producing outstanding creative work. I am really looking forward to helping them develop to service the growing needs of their clients.”

Duncan McWilliam, Founder & CEO of Outpost VFX, said: “I’m particularly excited that Robin will be joining us as Chair. Robin founded The Mill and created arguably the world’s most successful visual effects brand, which numbers among its many awards an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for its work on Gladiator.

“His experience in balancing a creative-led culture with excellent client relationships and production management will be key to supporting Outpost’s core values as we scale.”

YFM has been investing in emerging businesses in the UK since 1982, with a focus on helping them to scale quickly. Its other investments in the film and broadcast sector include digital mastering and localisation provider Eikon and virtual production company Ncam.

Adam Hart, investment manager for YFM, comments: “Outpost has delivered impressive growth over recent years, driven by Duncan and his team’s focus on internal culture, operational efficiency, and high-quality creative output. With this round of funding, recent key additions to the management team, and Robin Shenfield joining as non-executive chair, Outpost is well-placed to solidify its position as an important player in the international VFX market. We look forward to partnering with the team through the next stage of this exciting journey.”

McWilliam added: “Our ambition has always been to create exceptional visual effects to support our clients’ needs whilst endeavouring to create a better work/life balance for our employees and pursuing a progressive culture.

“This investment allows us to take our mission further and faster, leveraging technology advances across our four international studios, building upon our forward-thinking employee culture and investing in our talent across the board.

“While it has been a very difficult year for film and episodic markets across the globe, demand for exceptional quality visual entertainment has never been higher and competition for market share between the streamers is driving rapid growth. YFM’s investment is a reflection of the strong market fundamentals in the visual effects sector which is set for unprecedented expansion in 2021/22, and the unique qualities in Outpost’s vision for the coming years.”

 

Jon Creamer