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 help early-stage firms.

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

“Once I discuss to mates who’ve constructed massive firms 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 accomplished it,” Bartlett says. sieve.

Luckily for him, who’s the creator of the sequence himself, his many hours of podcasting have given him an “extremely extensive 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 staff insists he has “verbal and contractual obligations for the complete quantity”.

He’ll put money into 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 informed Sifted.

Scratch the VC itch

As Bartlett admits, elevating and managing enterprise capital cash “takes loads 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 by way of,” he says. “My ardour in life is constructing firms, taking issues from 0 to 100.

“It should allow me to make use of my community, my assets, to construct greater firms, and speed up them in a means that I do not suppose they’d 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 whenever you’re taking large swimming pools of capital from establishments, and it is a lot more durable to boost whenever 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’ll 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 annually. Little or no of the fund will probably be put aside for subsequent investments.

Bartlett’s buyers 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 “artistic director,” in keeping with LinkedIn). He is not going to share another names.

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

They may 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 firm Flight Story).

“As soon as the corporate passes this forensic evaluation, it’ll 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 is not going to be an issue from the sound of issues. “We obtained almost 1,000 inner 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 in search of capital, however for different types of help — for me to affix 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 movement up “a number of bigger multiples.”

He additionally very a lot hopes to help loads of underrepresented founders – and says the fund has set “some inner targets 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 vital 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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