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 personal 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 corporations.

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

“After I speak to pals 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 buyers who have not been there and finished 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 vast community” of European entrepreneurs — lots of whom at the moment are backing his new fund, Flight Story, he says. Nevertheless, he would not give us many names, or affirm the dimensions of the field that was sealed. His group 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 contemplate 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 trouble?

“At this level in my life, making some huge cash does not seem 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 can allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct greater corporations, and speed up them in a means that I do not assume they’d be capable to speed up in any other case.”

He is now spent two years engaged on the fund — “It is so much simpler to boost cash while you’re taking big swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot more durable to boost while 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 should 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 annually. Little or no of the fund will probably be put aside for subsequent investments.

Bartlett’s buyers 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 keeping with LinkedIn). He is not going to share every other names.

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

They may also 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 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 should 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 acquired practically 1,000 inside inquiries from entrepreneurs final month for funding or help in some capability,” says Bartlett.

He additionally believes he’ll be capable 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 affix 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 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 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 necessary 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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