Dragons’ Steven Bartlett on his new venture capital fund: ‘I’m a failure if we don’t support the next female-founded unicorn’

If you wish to elevate your individual enterprise capital cash sometime, beginning a podcast is not a foul strategy to begin.

Stephen Bartlett, star of the British TV phenomenon Dragons’ Den and host of Europe’s most downloaded podcast, The Diary of a CEO, is elevating $100 million in enterprise capital to help early-stage firms.

And similar to the zeitgeist in Europe in the intervening time, his supporters are nearly the identical as present or former entrepreneurs.

“After I discuss to pals who’ve constructed huge firms right here, the feedback I hear time and again is that there’s some fatigue and pessimism about taking capital from traders who have not been there and executed it,” says Bartlett. sieve.

Thankfully for him, who’s the creator of the sequence himself, his many hours of podcasting have given him an “extremely extensive community” of European entrepreneurs — a lot of whom at the moment are backing his new fund, Flight Story, he says. Nonetheless, he would not give us many names, or verify the scale of the field that was sealed. His staff insists he has “verbal and contractual obligations for the total quantity”.

He’ll put money into some very noisy areas – biotech, blockchain, and Void – and the seek for underrepresented founders specifically.

“If we do not help the subsequent female-founded unicorn within the subsequent decade, I’ll take into account myself a failure with this fund,” he informed Sifted.

Scratch the VC itch

As Bartlett admits, elevating and managing enterprise capital cash “takes quite a lot of effort.”

Why then, given he is already a millionaire, would he trouble?

“At this level in my life, making some huge cash would not appear to be a sufficiently big motivator to get via,” he says. “My ardour in life is constructing firms, taking issues from 0 to 100.

“It’s going to allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct greater firms, and speed up them in a approach that I do not assume they might be capable of speed up in any other case.”

He is now spent two years engaged on the fund — “It is loads simpler to boost cash once you’re taking big swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot tougher to boost once you’re getting small checks from nice profitable founders” — and he has three offers able to signal, he says.

Bartlett, who apparently thinks managing a enterprise capital fund is a aspect enterprise, believes it’s going to take “about 30-40%” of his skilled time. His brother, Jason Bartlett, an investor who beforehand labored at British pension fund Railpen, additionally works for the fund. The 2 brothers beforehand co-founded one other funding car, Katina Capital.

Journey Story Field

The fund will make investments between $1 million and $10 million in as much as 10 early-stage startups primarily based in Europe annually. Little or no of the fund might be put aside for subsequent investments.

Bartlett’s traders embrace alan barratt, CEO of sports activities vitamin model grenade, and Christian Ingermeyer Billionaire tech investor and founding father of biotech firm Atai Life Sciences (an organization Bartlett labored with for a number of years as an investor and “artistic director,” in response to LinkedIn). He is not going to share some other names.

All of his traders have agreed to help portfolio firms working of their areas of experience, he says.

They can even play a key position in conducting due diligence on potential investments. He says the fund has a board of “technicians” who’ve years of expertise analyzing firms from a due diligence perspective. This board contains his brother and Andy Lake (CFO of Flight Story for Bartlett’s advertising firm).

“As soon as the corporate passes this forensic evaluation, it’s going to go to an funding committee consisting of me and 4 others, after which to the LP committee,” says Bartlett. Once more, he will not identify who else is on the funding committee aside from Angermayer.

On the LP committee there’s one investor from every of the fund’s (pretty broad) goal funding areas – biotech, well being and wellness tech, blockchain, aerospace, commerce, and expertise.

Dripping within the movement of offers

Deal movement is not going to be an issue from the sound of issues. “We obtained almost 1,000 inside inquiries from entrepreneurs final month for funding or help in some capability,” says Bartlett.

He additionally believes he’ll be capable of discover the sorts of investments that imitative mainstream enterprise capitalists miss out on. “The founders we goal are normally not searching for capital, however for different types of help — for me to hitch their boards, for one in every of our LPs to help their enterprise or open up their community.”

Within the coming months, he says he wish to “transfer” deal movement up “a number of bigger multiples.”

He additionally very a lot hopes to help quite a lot of underrepresented founders – and says the fund has set “some inside targets as to how diversified our allocation is by way of founders”.

“We might be posting these stats on the Flight Story web site because the fund begins making offers, and telling the diversification story of our investments via our social channels,” he says. “For us, we’re on an adjoining however essential campaign.”

Amy Lewin is the editor of Sifted and co-host of Startup Europe – The Sifted Podcastand writes So spherical, a weekly publication on VC. she tweets from @tweet

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