The Top UK Venture Capitalist Firms in the United Kingdom

31st March 2022

Despite what many ‘investment experts’ will tell you, there’s no secret recipe or magic bullet that will attract your perfect investor. Everything you need to become an investable entrepreneur is within your grasp already. So long as you’ve put in all the pitch planning, hard work and due diligence that’s required, you’ll already be a long way ahead of most of your competition. 

Even when you’re ready to take your ground-breaking product, service or concept out into the world, you’ll still have three substantial hurdles ahead of you called the pre-seed, seed, and – eventually – Series A rounds. It’s going to be an exciting and rewarding journey, but to make it through any of these rounds, you’ll need to have as much insight as possible into the different kinds of VC funds out there. Here is a guide to the top UK ones. 

Pre-Seed

Pre-seed is the ground floor of investment. You’ve got something to show, you’ve identified a clear market opportunity, and you’re ready to ‘test the waters’ by finding investors who’ll want to fund your idea and help you take it to the next level. A typical Pre-Seed Fund will invest no more than £500k into your business (and generally a lot less than that) and many pre-seed VCs will also consider seed funding a product once it proves it’s got traction.

Related: Startup Valuation: Five Ways to Credibly Value Your Startup for Investors

1. 7 Percent Ventures

7 Percent’s primary focus is funding companies within the DeepTech and High Technology industry, generally with a minimum investment of £500k. They invest in Europe and the USA.

Website: http://7pc.co/

2. Ascension Ventures

Ascension Ventures are one of the UK’s most active seed investors. Their focus is on backing early stage projects in the Next Generation Media, Digital Health & Life Sciences, DeepTech, FinTech, Commerce, and Sustainability industries. Although they don’t publish their investment range, Ascension typically seems to invest between £50k and £500k at the pre-seed stage.

Website: https://www.ascension.vc/

3. Beringea

Beringea is chiefly focused on SaaS, Retail and Consumer, FinTech, Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence opportunities. They typically invest between £1m and £10m and have investments in the UK, Europe, and North America.

Website: https://www.beringea.com/

4. Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First is a slightly different company builder than the usual pre-seed VC. Their focus is on founders rather than ideas, and they invest in individuals “pre-team, pre-idea” to help create new technology startups. They typically invest between £80k – £90k and are primarily looking for DeepTech b2b and b2c companies.

Website: https://www.joinef.com/

5. Forward Partners

Forward Partners are an early stage VC investor focusing on UK (and, occasionally, US) startups in the software industry; Applied Artificial Intelligence, Marketplace, and e-commerce startups seem to be their most extensive areas of interest. They typically invest between £200k and £3m across the pre-seed, seed, and Series A rounds.

Website: https://forwardpartners.com/

6. Seedcamp

Seedcamp are focused on early stage companies, mainly in FinTech and SaaS, although they are open to other approaches. They typically invest between £250k and £4m and have several unicorn companies in their portfolio.

Website: https://seedcamp.com/

Seed

When you’ve tried and tested your product, found a clear product-market fit, and proved your idea has traction, your company is ready for the seed funding round. At this stage, VCs will be willing to invest more money into your business because you’ve shown you’re a much less-risky proposition, and they’ll be confident you’re a founder who’s worth backing and you’ll almost certainly have assembled an expert team around you. 

1. Anthemis

Anthemis primarily invests in InsureTech and FinTech companies in the UK and worldwide. UniCredit and the European Investment Fund support their fund, and Anthemis typically invest anywhere from a minimum of £1m to a maximum of £20m in the seed and Series A rounds.

Website: https://www.anthemis.com/

2. BGF Growth Capital

BGF typically invests between £1m and £15m in small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK and Ireland. Their comprehensive portfolio encompasses everything from Data & Artificial Intelligence, Oil and Gas, Automotive, Aerospace, and Construction, to Life Sciences, Retail and Leisure, Media, and Education. They have a global network of investors and experts and an enviable success rate that includes several spinouts. 

Website: https://www.bgf.co.uk/our-portfolio/

3. First Minute Capital

First Minute Capital is backed by more than a hundred unicorn founders and primarily invests in Blockchain, FinTech, and (occasionally) consumer-focused companies in Europe and the USA. First Minute’s minimum investment is typically £1.6m up to a maximum of £4m.

Website: https://firstminute.capital/

4. IQ Capital

IQ Capital invests at seed and Series A levels, and their interest is on disruptive UK tech, with a particular focus on DeepTech ventures: IoT, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence. Their initial investments can range from £500k to £10m, with a maximum investment of £31m.

Website: https://iqcapital.vc/

5. Playfair Capital

Playfair Capital has invested in companies across Europe, Africa, and the USA, although their focus is predominantly on tech businesses within the UK. They are one of the UK’s leading pre-seed and seed VCs and typically invest between £100k and £500k at the pre-seed stage and up to £2m at the seed stage. However, their maximum investment can be as much as £17.2m. Their portfolio includes companies in the EdTech, Big Data, HealthTech, Travel, e-commerce, and Property sectors, plus many more.

Website: https://playfaircapital.com/

6. SuperSeed Ventures

SuperSeed Ventures invest exclusively in b2b software, with a particular interest in companies “that use software and machine learning to automate the way the world does business.” Their focus is on companies within the UK, and their typical minimum investment is £200k up to a maximum of £2m. 

Website: https://www.superseed.com/

Series A

When your product has been proven to work, your revenue model has shown itself to be solid, you’ve assembled your core team, and you’ve demonstrated your growth potential, it’s time to reach out to Series A VCs. Series A VCs can inject your business with all the funds necessary to take you to the next level, and they’re looking for investable entrepreneurs who already have momentum. However, before you approach Series A VCs, it’s essential to have a solid grasp of your market facts and figures, your financial projections, and the key milestones you will achieve over the upcoming months. You should also research the VC thoroughly, paying close attention to who they have invested in previously and their recent successes and failures. 

1. 500 Startups

500 Startups invests early in fast-growing technology companies. They’re primarily focused on FinTech, EdTech, FoodTech, Bitcoin, Consumer Commerce, Cloud, and Mobile. They typically invest a minimum of £100k up to a maximum of £250k, and there are currently over 40 companies valued at $1bn+ in their portfolio.

Website: https://500.co/

2. Active Partners

Active Partners are focused on supporting consumer brands through all stages of their growth and global expansion strategy. Their portfolio includes restaurant chains, eyewear, activewear and skincare brands, and immersive events companies. Active Partners will typically invest a minimum of £4m and a maximum of £15m.

Website: https://active.partners/

3. Index Ventures

Index Ventures is an international VC with dual bases in London and San Francisco. They mainly invest at the Series A and Series B stage, but have occasionally invested as early as seed. Index Ventures focuses on FinTech, e-commerce, Infrastructure/AI, gaming, and business services. Typically, they will invest a minimum of £5m. To date, their maximum investment has been £114m.

Website: https://www.indexventures.com/

4. MMC Ventures

MMC Ventures focuses mainly on post-revenue transformative technology companies within the UK. It is especially active in London, typically investing between £2m and £3m with a maximum investment of £20m. They have several household-name companies in their investment portfolio, but SaaS, enterprise software, and consumer internet companies seem to attract their attention the most.

Website: https://mmc.vc/

5. Octopus Ventures

Octopus Ventures is one of VCs’ most prominent players, with investments in more than a hundred companies. Their focus is on HealthTech, FinTech, Energy, and Property. Octopus Ventures’ Series A investment typically begins at £5m with a maximum investment of £30m, and they aim to continue supporting their portfolio companies through to IPO.

Website: https://octopusventures.com/

6. Walking Ventures

Walking Ventures is a London-based VC with an investment portfolio that includes everything from SaaS, marketing, and lifestyle companies to fantasy sports brands. Their typical minimum investment is £10k up to a maximum Series A investment of £13m.

Website: https://walking.vc/

Regardless of the round you’re about to go for, and whether it’s pre-seed, seed, or Series A, you can’t afford to be under-prepared. Investors aren’t famous for giving ill-equipped founders a second chance, and it’s crucial to have as much knowledge on your side as possible before stepping into their arena. 

Fortunately, the easiest and best way to do that is by reading Robot Mascot COO James Church’s bestselling book, Investable Entrepreneur. You can download a free copy here.

UP NEXT:

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    2022-03-31T05:46:35+00:00March 31st, 2022|Categories: Pitching, Advice|

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