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 method 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 assist early-stage corporations.

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

“Once I speak to pals who’ve constructed large corporations 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 achieved it,” says Bartlett. sieve.

Happily for him, who’s the creator of the collection 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 dimensions of the field that was sealed. His workforce 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 specifically.

“If we do not assist the following 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 a whole lot of effort.”

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

“At this level in my life, making some huge cash would not look like a sufficiently big motivator to get via,” 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 sources, to construct larger corporations, and speed up them in a method that I do not assume they might be capable 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 once you’re taking large 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 facet 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 every year. Little or no of the fund shall be put aside for subsequent investments.

Bartlett’s traders embody 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 keeping with LinkedIn). He won’t share every other names.

All of his traders have agreed to assist portfolio corporations 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 corporations from a due diligence perspective. This board consists of his brother and Andy Lake (CFO of Bartlett’s advertising firm Flight Story).

“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 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 circulation of offers

Deal circulation won’t be an issue from the sound of issues. “We acquired almost 1,000 inner inquiries from entrepreneurs final month for funding or assist 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 often not in search of capital, however for different types of assist — for me to affix their boards, for one among our LPs to assist their enterprise or open up their community.”

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

He additionally very a lot hopes to assist a whole lot of underrepresented founders – and says the fund has set “some inner targets as to how diversified our allocation is when it comes to founders”.

“We shall 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 e-newsletter on VC. she tweets from @tweet

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