An ex-Googler and a veteran VC are raising a £60 million UK startup fund
Martyn Holman, an ex-salesperson at Google, and Nic Brisbourne, who has been investing in tech companies for over 15 years, plan to start raising the fund at the start of 2017, with the view to closing it by the end of the year.
The fund, to be raised from limited partners (LPs) primarily in the UK and Silicon Valley, will be used to back 48 startups over the next five years, the duo told Business Insider on Wednesday.Launched in 2014, Forward Partners invests between £250,000 and £750,000 in each startup that it backs. To date, it has raised £21 million to invest in UK tech companies.
The VC firm - spun out of the Forward Internet Group, which creates, acquires, and invests in tech companies - is primarily looking to back pre-seed companies when they're just starting out.
In addition to funding, Forward Partners provides its portfolio companies with office space and a team consisting of engineers, designers, PR, HR, and marketing people. "That's all the kind of support an early stage company is looking to have immediately in the business," said Holman. "They often can't afford the type of quality that we provide."
This support team allows Forward Partners to invest in companies that are often at the "idea stage," Holman said, adding that other investors might worry about whether founders will have access to the resources they need.
Forward Partners has backed the likes of children's book company Lost My Name, which sold its two millionth book last week, and fintech startup Zopa, alongside 32 other companies. The firm claims that its portfolio companies now have a combined valuation in excess of £1 billion thanks in part to £200 million in follow-on funding from the likes of GV (Google Ventures), Balderton, and MMC.