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 increase your personal enterprise capital cash sometime, beginning a podcast is not a nasty solution 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 mean time, his supporters are nearly the identical as present or former entrepreneurs.

“Once I discuss to mates 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 traders who have not been there and finished it,” Bartlett says. sieve.

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

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

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

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

“It can allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct larger firms, and speed up them in a manner that I do not assume they’d be capable of 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 if you’re taking big swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot tougher to lift if 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 facet enterprise, believes it would 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 automobile, Katina Capital.

Journey Story Field

The fund will make investments between $1 million and $10 million in as much as 10 early-stage startups based mostly in Europe every year. Little or no of the fund will probably 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 “inventive director,” in accordance with LinkedIn). He won’t share another names.

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

They will even play a key function 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 Bartlett’s advertising and marketing firm Flight Story).

“As soon as the corporate passes this forensic evaluation, it would 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 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 movement of offers

Deal movement won’t 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 often not on the lookout for capital, however for different types of help — for me to affix their boards, for one among our LPs to help their enterprise or open up their community.”

Within the coming months, he says he want 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 objectives as to how diversified our allocation is by way of founders”.

“We will probably 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 our social channels,” he says. “For us, we’re on an adjoining however necessary 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 @worker

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