Author: Stan Williams
As President Kennedy famously said “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.” Although Kennedy was somewhat mistaken in his interpretation of the Chinese word for ‘Crisis’ there is real truth in the concept behind his 1961 speech. There is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity can be.
Of course, we all realise how difficult COVID-19 will be for many sectors. The hit on consumer spending and confidence will of course have an impact and we are well aware of that. But even in the worst hit industries there will be opportunities that open up. Out of the doom and gloom of the 2008 financial crisis for instance, we saw companies such as Uber and Airbnb founded. It is these asset light technology companies that can continue growing when other sectors of the economy are in stagnation.
That is why at Fuel Ventures we will continue investing through Covid-19 especially in companies that are growing despite the challenges. We do not see the current climate as a blocker to growth but as an opportunity in itself. Below are a selection of companies from the Fuel Ventures portfolio where we see this opportunity.
If you’d like more information on any of the companies below, please email email@example.com
The current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a volatile and ever-changing market, however OnBuy has shown that they are a robust company and able to stay dynamic. OnBuy is a dependable source at this time; by staying operational, they are allowing their retailers to keep their businesses afloat, protecting their income and jobs, and supporting their customers who need to buy things from the safety of their home. We are a vital platform to both sellers and buyers. At OnBuy, we will continue to weather the current crisis and with the planned diversification into over 140 countries, we can be confident that we will remain robust and weather any other crises in future. Onbuy has grown at an atonsighing rate over the last two years, achieving 5X YoY growth. That has made it the fastest growing marketplace in the UK and now the largest UK founded marketplace in the country. Unsurprisingly, during the Covid crisis consumers have turned to Onbuy and as a result they have seen a record revenue months in Feb and March.
WeAreFeel is a health subscription box. With the majority of people at home we have seen a meaningful pick-up in demand for our services, with people increasingly focused on their health and ease of access to products, both of which we can solve for. We witness an unprecedented boost in an already rapidly growing market of health products, making it one of the most in-demand categories (well-being, immunity, mental health).
Our model proves to be resilient in the crisis felt by offline and classic retailers. WeAreFeel is perfectly aligned to thrive in the current situation and long-term environment, especially with our contactless letterbox delivery.
Since launching their new vitamin in November 2019, monthly recurring revenues (MRR) have grown over 800%. Furthermore, month on month MRR growth has averaged 75%.
Capdesk is an equity management software that helps companies manage their captables and complete secondary transactions of it’s shares. They are expecting some trends to emerge out of the global pandemic which might open up further opportunities. More companies will be doing secondary transactions, as cash is going to be more important and investors are looking for safer investments. More companies will be setting up employee share plans as cash efficient remuneration alternatives falter in hard times. Also, they do not expect their US competitors to be entering Europe anytime soon, as they will have their hands full in their local markets which gives them time to gain more market share. You see so much positive thinking!
Distributed ensures customers can have their software projects delivered by globally distributed teams as easy as they do when working with in-house teams. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has seen the world, ‘go remote’, and has forced many companies into exploring new ways of working. We’re seeing a growing demand for the anti-fragility that distributed teams and the distributed platform provides, whether it’s companies seeking a business continuity or team augmentation solution, the future of work may or may not be remote, but the need for more flexible, less fragile staffing solutions is now apparent.
Tutor House is an automated marketplace for one-one tutoring and group learning. Although the Coronavirus crisis has affected a huge number of businesses worldwide, Tutorhouse have responded by opening up their unique online learning platform for all users, be that children learning the UK curriculum, (KS2/KS3) teenagers preparing for their A-levels or adults wanting to learn Italian from home. Throughout March they have seen a surge in online tutoring requests and an increase in demand for online group classes for kids - as they are now all at home with their parents for the foreseeable future. In the past few weeks they have had requests for online tutoring from countries all over the world, as well as schools, education providers and international education advisors. This has led to considerable interest from investors, who see the online education space as a solid and sustainable platform for the years to come.
Yello is moving from strength to strength, even amidst the current global pandemic as many are spending more time at home and this is creating an amazing opportunity for Yello and the amazing cross-platform games that it offers. Unlike many industries, the gaming industry is one that stands to benefit from many around the world having more time on their hands and for Yello, as a game developer and distribution platform, this means more users playing our games, the amazing games from our partners and also many more of our partner platforms wanting the amazing content that only Yello can provide.
With Coronavirus gripping the world, Yello has since started its expansion into China, started to make its first moves into Africa and India and has now positioned itself and it's platform perfectly to start delivering high-quality games to platforms and users across the globe. With new opportunities arising, with the potential distribution of their current and future games to kids platforms to aid with learning and more, Yello is at the forefront of a fast-growing Global industry and is able to adapt well to what is for many, a very volatile time across global markets.
Michael Hudson the CEO of Yello Games commented "With the Coronavirus outbreak it is sad to see many businesses struggling across the globe, but if Yello can play its part to bring the world together through amazing cross-platform games, playable across devices, across platforms and for free, then I and the Yello team will keep working hard to make sure we provide the world with the fun that everybody needs in these tough times"
Thanks for reading. If you’d like more information on any of the companies mentioned here please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have all been part of those employee incentive schemes that give you cinema tickets and 5% off the local gym. So how come we never actually use them?
The employee incentives industry is littered with discounts and vouchers that people don’t want. This leads to low engagement in the incentives, and as a result, these schemes do little to nothing in reducing the age-old problem of employee turnover. The modern employee demands a high-quality lifestyle and an employer that understands the things they need. If they don’t get it where they are, then they will move.
Since the birth of technology-driven employee incentive schemes, entrants have either focused on niche verticals or have used cheap discounts and vouchers to win business accounts. No one has responded to the changing tide; staff wellbeing and development budgets are increasing, the focus is on providing meaningful and inclusive work cultures rather than ticking boxes.
Juno offers the opportunity for staff to have a choice and for businesses to save time and money. They don’t just focus on fitness and mental health services. They offer help with life admin that has a huge impact on people’s happiness and productivity. Juno gives businesses the tools to redefine their role. Every month, employers pay a subscription fee per employee. Employees get points to spend on Body, Life and Mind categories. These range from yoga and boxing classes to home services such as cleaning and laundry. The founder and CEO Ally was instrumental in the early-stage growth of Cleo AI, Yolt and LOQBOX. His talents lie in building and growing incredible products that change user behaviour. He also has the ambition to build a billion-pound global wellness company. Juno has already hit the ground running signing up one of the largest apparel brands in the world. With 30000 employees on its waitlist, we have no doubt 2020 is going to be an excellent year for them.
We are pleased to announce that we are leading Juno’s £650k Seed round. Our investment in Juno builds on our thesis that employee care and wellness is the future. We look forward to supporting founder Ally Fekaiki and Juno’s plans to use the funding to scale the company and accelerate growth with an investment in sales, product, and marketing. We are impressed by Juno’s technology in the growing employee wellness market and progress they have already made in their industry.
To find out more about their platform click here
Fuel Ventures portfolio companies continue to dominate the Deloitte '50 fastest-growing companies' annual awards, outranking firms that have raised many millions more in funding.
The Deloitte ‘Fast 50’ awards analyse which companies have grown the fastest based on revenue increase over the previous four years. Deloitte partner Duncan Down called the growth of our companies "nothing short of exceptional" and "a testament to the innovation and success enjoyed by the UK's technology industry."
Our success in these awards is not a new phenomenon. Paddle our team’s first investment featured sixth in both 2017 and 2018, achieving 3900% growth in its second showing.
The limelight is now on our newest entrant to the Deloitte awards Moteefe. Our fastest growing portfolio company helps brands sell custom merchandise online with a plug and play online store. They grew a massive 9034% this year. This growth story earned them a lofty 4th place in the Deloitte rankings, with the outranking companies raising £48m, £900m and £300m more than them respectively.
You may be asking yourself how Fuel Ventures companies are consistently outperforming rivals with significantly more funding? The answer is simple. Growth is not all about finance. Without unlimited funds, companies must have other advantages. Incredibly ambitious founders who are always pushing the boundaries of their company’s capability is a must. Your marketing strategy needs to be highly scalable and efficient. You need to have fantastic margins which allow you to reinvest operating profit into further growth. And finally, you must have a product that customers love and spread virally through word of mouth.
Here at Fuel Ventures, we look for these key traits in companies when making investment decisions. We are not so interested in vanity metrics such as ‘total funds raised’. We want great businesses with impressive margins and talented, ambitious founders. Once we invest, we then guide our companies towards translating these early signs into real results. We sit hand to hand with our portfolio, guiding them through the challenges that come with finding product-market fit and growing revenues.
We believe this investment and advisory methodology will continue to deliver fantastic results in the Deloitte growth awards. The growth stories we see in our portfolio make us even more bullish about this.
For now, we could not be prouder of Moteefe and Paddle for their achievements. It is a rare thing for an early stage seed Venture Capital firm to have two of the fastest-growing companies in the country within their portfolio. We believe it shows our strategy to invest, incubate and nurture companies towards success is working and we are excited to continue this approach over the next decade.
Are you a high growth technology start-up based here in London? Please apply for funding >HERE<
If you like the sound of our investment approach, do get in touch with our team >HERE<
- Paddle at Deloitte Awards
- Moteefe at Deloitte Awards