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 nasty technique 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 identical to the zeitgeist in Europe in the meanwhile, his supporters are nearly the identical as present or former entrepreneurs.

“Once I discuss to associates who’ve constructed huge firms right here, the feedback I hear over and over is that there’s some fatigue and pessimism about taking capital from buyers who have not been there and finished it,” Bartlett says. sieve.

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

He’ll spend money on some very noisy areas – biotech, blockchain, and Void – and the seek for underrepresented founders particularly.

“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 instructed Sifted.

Scratch the VC itch

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

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

“At this level in my life, making some huge cash does not appear to be a large enough motivator to get by way of,” 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 larger firms, and speed up them in a approach that I do not suppose they’d have the ability to speed up in any other case.”

He is now spent two years engaged on the fund — “It is rather a lot simpler to lift cash whenever you’re taking big swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot tougher to lift whenever 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 can 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 every year. Little or no of the fund can be put aside for subsequent investments.

Bartlett’s buyers embody alan barratt, CEO of sports activities diet 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 “inventive director,” in accordance with LinkedIn). He is not going to share some other names.

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

They may also 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 consists of his brother and Andy Lake (CFO of Bartlett’s advertising and marketing firm Flight Story).

“As soon as the corporate passes this forensic evaluation, it can go to an funding committee consisting of me and 4 others, after which to the LP committee,” says Bartlett. Once more, he will not title who else is on the funding committee apart 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 know-how.

Dripping within the stream of offers

Deal stream 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 have the ability to 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 among our LPs to help their enterprise or open up their community.”

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

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

“We can be posting these stats on the Flight Story web site because the fund begins making offers, and telling the diversification story of our investments by way of 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 e-newsletter on VC. she tweets from @worker

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