The Business On... Jon Moulton, founder, Better Capital

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The Independent Online

What's he up to now?

Raising cash for his listed private equity fund, Better Capital. Analysts expect him to seek as much as £100m, with investors getting a stake in new investments, rather than benefiting from the existing portfolio.

Isn't this a tough time to be raising money?

Mr Moulton is a glass half-full sort of chap. He concedes that the economic outlook is "bleak", but says this means it's a good time to do deals. There'll be opportunities, he reckons.

Wasn't he supposed to be planning his retirement?

That was before he quit Alchemy Partners following a disagreement with colleagues and decided to launch Better Capital to prove them wrong. And he keeps making investments. Having initially raised £208m, he's invested in a string of companies including Reader's Digest, IT group Calyx and engineer Gardner.

And how has he done?

Rather well. In the past six months Better Capital has produced a total return of 9 per cent – not bad when you consider the markets. Moulton says five of the six portfolio companies are now making operating profits. Even formerly struggling Reader's Digest is back in the black after a major restructuring. One thing Mr Moulton is not is an asset stripper.

The acceptable face ofprivate equity then?

You would be referring to Ed Milliband's determination to divide businesses into goodies and baddies? It's doubtful Mr Moulton would see it that way. Private equity needs him though. Rivals cravenly hid behind him at a Treasury Select Committee hearing into private equity while he took on the best MPs could come up with.