New investment house Endorphin hopes to back the insurance entrepreneurs of the future

Chris Blackham has laid down the gauntlet to the consolidators, launching an investment house to back start-up and existing small brokers and MGAs.

Blackham and his former right-hand man, Geoff Bradford, have first-hand experience of consolidators, having sold Layton Blackham to AXA in 2007. The business now forms part of AXA-owned consolidator Bluefin.

Blackham and Bradford’s new business, Endorphin, will invest in brokers and offer management advice, Insurance Times can reveal. It has already bought out Bradford’s business Aquilla Insurance Brokers.

Blackham said the business would benefit from current dissatisfaction in the market, and vendors coming to the end of their restrictive covenants with the consolidators they sold their businesses to at the height of the M&A boom.

He said: “After two years in the garden, we find ourselves returning to an industry that closely reflects our economy: smaller businesses are struggling to survive and obtain finance, and larger businesses have laden themselves with debt and costs. Things need to change.

“Although our consultancy will provide advice to the entire industry, the primary goal will be to concentrate on finding the insurance entrepreneurs of tomorrow and helping them succeed. This we’ll do by providing a select number of start-ups, management buy-ins and outs, and shareholders wanting a partial or full exit, with the necessary finance and the personal support and advice of both Geoff and myself. We believe the current turbulent market will provide the opportunities of a lifetime for a select few, and we plan to be there for them.”

Blackham refused to say how much money Endorphin had available, but said it was a “significant amount”. Currently, the fund is personally backed by Blackham and Bradford, but other shareholders could be brought in if necessary, he said.

Download the Endorphin FAQ pdf, right.