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 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 corporations.

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

“Once I discuss to mates who’ve constructed massive corporations right here, the feedback I hear again and again is that there’s some fatigue and pessimism about taking capital from traders who have not been there and completed it,” Bartlett says. sieve.

Happily for him, who’s the creator of the collection himself, his many hours of podcasting have given him an “extremely broad community” of European entrepreneurs — lots of whom at the moment are backing his new fund, Flight Story, he says. Nonetheless, he would not give us many names, or affirm the scale of the field that was sealed. His staff 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 particularly.

“If we do not help the following female-founded unicorn within the subsequent decade, I’ll think about 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 by way of,” he says. “My ardour in life is constructing corporations, taking issues from 0 to 100.

“It should allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct greater corporations, and speed up them in a approach that I do not suppose they might 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 boost cash if you’re taking enormous swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot more durable to boost 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 aspect 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 primarily based 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 line with LinkedIn). He is not going to share some other names.

All of his traders have agreed to help portfolio corporations 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 corporations from a due diligence perspective. This board contains his brother and Andy Lake (CFO of Bartlett’s advertising 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 may be 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 move of offers

Deal move is not going to be an issue from the sound of issues. “We obtained practically 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 often not searching for capital, however for different types of help — for me to hitch their boards, for one in all our LPs to help their enterprise or open up their community.”

Within the coming months, he says he want to “transfer” deal move 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 when it comes to 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 way of our social channels,” he says. “For us, we’re on an adjoining however vital 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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