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

“Once I discuss to buddies who’ve constructed large 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 carried out 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 — 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 affirm the dimensions 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 subsequent female-founded unicorn within the subsequent decade, I’ll think about myself a failure with this fund,” he advised 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 would not seem to be a sufficiently big motivator to get via,” he says. “My ardour in life is constructing firms, taking issues from 0 to 100.

“It’ll allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct larger firms, and speed up them in a method that I do not suppose 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 while you’re taking large 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 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 based mostly in Europe annually. 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 “artistic director,” in keeping with LinkedIn). He won’t 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 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 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 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 know-how.

Dripping within the movement of offers

Deal movement won’t be an issue from the sound of issues. “We obtained practically 1,000 inner 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 often 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 want to “transfer” deal movement 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 inner targets as to how diversified our allocation is when it comes to 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 via 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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