Author: Bhavya Jain
In the simplest of terms, over the long run, these founders are relying on the value add these “Dragons of the Business World” can bring to their business. To highlight this point, one of our portfolio companies Thrift + (https://thrift.plus/) experienced an exponential surge in their business activity after receiving an offer from an investor on “Dragons’ Den”.
The value aside from capital that investors can bring to the table is often the biggest advantage that VC backed companies have over others. Along with financial support (which in itself is a huge factor here especially with helping to raise follow on funding), VC investors very quickly align themselves to these businesses to support them in a wide array of activities particularly in business introductions, recruitment, knowledge sharing, mentoring and so on.
How Do We at Fuel Ventures Add Value to Our Portfolio Companies?We believe that the support we provide to our portfolio companies is not simply tied to their ongoing success. Looking into some of the above key points, we have provided further details below on how we aim to differentiate ourselves within the investment sphere in particular by bringing in our entrepreneurial and operational experience of building, running and exiting profitable fast growth tech companies.
FundingOften the most important support that a VC can offer to their portfolio companies is the right level of funding at the right time. This capital is crucial for these companies to scale and grow. Not only the initial capital, we work with these exceptional founders to raise further capital through our wide network of private and institutional investors for future growth, Series A and B rounds. This network acts as a catalyst in the fundraising journey of these companies where the founders can work towards growing the businesses. To highlight this, over the course of 2019, Fuel Ventures invested over £10m into a number of our portfolio companies through follow-on investments. Despite not yet being half way through 2020, we are already approaching last year’s number, a positive result given the investment world has been turned on its head through the impact of COVID-19.
Knowledge SharingUnless a founder has a great group of advisers or multiple other founders as part of their immediate circle, leading a company can often be a time of immense stress and loneliness. In general, there is no better way to learn than to collaborate with others and learn from each other’s experiences. Having invested in over 35 companies, some with multiple founders, we have found that across the Fuel Ventures Founders Ecosystem there sits a huge expanse of founder knowledge and experience that can be a great support for all of our founders, no matter where they are on their journey. By creating an ecosystem and facilitating discussions through regular founder sessions and meetings, we empower these companies to harness their maximum potential whilst working in a collaborative environment. When welcoming new companies into the Fuel Ventures portfolio, we actively implore them to not only participate within our founders’ group, but also connect with the other founders privately, thus expanding their own support systems.
Business IntroductionsA good product takes effort and time from someone to be able to sell it for it to become a good business. Every potential client for a business is considered as an opportunity and VC’s play an important role in bringing together this opportunity and the business. At Fuel, we have a wide network through our investor base, our internal team and all other external stakeholders, thus enabling us to explore various opportunities where our portfolio companies can collaborate, sell to, buy from or explore other commercial opportunities. This wider support can often translate to that one big client or at times the senior hire the company makes. We therefore often act as an extension of the team for these companies.
Support SystemA VC is beyond just an entity writing a cheque. We believe it is just as important for a VC to support a business no matter their trajectory. Our GP Mark Pearson’s track record of building and exiting high growth profitable tech businesses allows us to give the right direction to these businesses throughout their journey. During the current unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, some companies within our portfolio experienced a sudden unanticipated loss of revenue, clients and team members. In times like these, being able to rely on past experiences is crucial. Having personally navigated through the 2008 crisis as the founder of a tech start-up, our GP Mark Pearson’s experience was crucial for these companies to learn from and adapt to the hardships posed. In a short span of time, we aided our portfolio companies to mobilise and consolidate their businesses, a strategy that has allowed them to maintain their cash reserves and maximise their chances of bouncing back over the next 12+ months.
Our final goal, like any other VC, is to achieve maximum return for our investors by investing in founders who are on track towards building some of the fastest growing companies. In doing so, we offer an incredible amount of support and guidance along with the money. We have a current portfolio of 30+ companies and are always keen and excited to speak to businesses that fall within our investment criteria.
To know and learn more about our investment criteria or if you would wish to invest with us, please feel free to visit our website at www.fuel.ventures or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.