We invest very early in incredible UK teams with traction and worldwide potential, and we help take the company through to series A.
You can join the syndicate but you have the option to opt out of any deal.
BACKGROUND ( Doug )
- UK born and based.
- Degree in Theoretical Mathematics and Electronics.
- Numerous years sleeping on beaches around the world - honestly.
- Ran many tech projects in the UK and Australian investment banks.
- Employ over 50 people in tech companies I created.
- Founded numerous internet properties based in the UK including:
carrentals.co.uk - over 1 million rentals
discountvouchers.co.uk - 6 million subscribers
compare99.com - over 5 million visitors per month
timetobreak.com - over 5 milion page views per day
- One of first investors in Techstars, Ignite.io and Entrepreneurs First in Europe ( still an investor in all 3 ).
- Invested directly in over 20 internet companies in 24 months.
- Helped seed raise for many of those 20 companies.
- Heavily connected within the UK Tech and investor ecosystem, thus gets shown and invited to participate in many deals.
- Largest Angellist syndicate in Europe with over 100 tech investors including many of the well known people in UK tech.
My personal syndicate grew exceptionally fast and now has many well known people in tech in the UK backing me. Hence I have recruited some of the smartest people I know who I have worked with on various things over the years to help out and work on the syndicate. These include:
Andy Stevens - My CoFounder of Potential. We have worked together for almost 15 years.
Paul Humphreys - Paul has worked with me at Potential for almost 10 years, helping generator 100's of million of visitors to websites
YC NG - Has been working in the startup world. He also did Economics at Cambridge, so is quite smart:)
OUR INVESTMENT APPROACH PER BUSINESS
- Invest in great UK based teams. Great means are nice, smart and can hussle.
- Invest in teams we have met several times so we know more about how they think.
- Invest when the business is not fully established but has some interesting growth numbers and ideally has charged money for something
- Invest when valuation is less than £1 million unless something exceptional ( we will invest at higher valuations but only exceptional cases )
- Invest when the Syndicate can ideally take up the UK SEIS allowance ( upto £150K )
- Aim to either have a small fund or High Net Worth to invest too at seed round along side the syndicate but outside of Angellist, with the aim of extending the time to the next raise. ( if you wish to invest a reasonable amount please contact us as we are happy for such deals to be done direct and for us not to have a carry - as that seems fair )
- Help each company to be Series A ready utilising many of my staff
- Introduce each company to 50 plus angels and VC’s in the UK.
Think similar to 500startups type model in the UK, with cheaper valuations and utilising the UK tax incentives:)
MY INVESTMENT APPROACH AS A PORTFOLIO
- Mathematical based investing with a bit of knowledge thrown in.
- Monte Carlo typing modelling in high risk investments has proven to get the best returns in many sectors. This involves making many investments, the ones that win will make returns that will dwarf the many losses. ( For Wiki explanation click here )
- Obviously making slightly better informed bets can increase the returns, hence we invest in things that we have some understanding of the market and hence can spot good teams, good ideas and can give help.
- We also invest in sectors we do not have any knowledge, but have friends who do understand them well and are investing in. Thus making sure we spread our investments into many sectors.
- The chance of hitting a company that makes huge returns increases as you make more bets.
- Please do not only invest in a small number of companies as this does not give a good chance of good returns
- Aim to have pro rata rights so can follow on with the good companies.
WHY UK INVESTMENTS?
- UK is the hub of so many things.
- UK has some of the best education establishments in the world - Oxford, Cambridge. etc
- UK has open policy for workers from almost all European countries.
- UK is stepping stone to Europe and we speak same language, real English:)
- Almost all VC's are now global and many have presence in London - Google Ventures just opened.
- The UK eco system is still small with most people knowing each other from startups, angels, vc's. We know quite a lot of them:)
- UK is not Silicon Valley and it is harder to raise money but it is getting easier.
- Valuations are still low at seed and no where near Silicon Valley valuations.
- UK tech staff costs are a fraction of the Bay area but skill levels are as good, hence smaller raises are viable at early stage.
- 3 years ago London had limited tech scene now it feels like a giant has awoken...I should write for the tourist board for a living:)
- Some independent reports:
MY INVESTMENTS SO FAR
This does not include all my investments because quite a few have nothing to say since a seed round or have raised but the data is private.
36 months - 32 investments so far including:
Admedo - first investor in 2013, now raised over $8 million - Click here
Moltin.com - first investor in 2013, Just finished YCombinator, raised $2 million - Click Here
Jinn - first investor early 2014, now raised $10 million - Click Here
Cashkaro - one of first investors in 2013 now number 1 cashback site in India and raised almost $5 million - Click here
Tapdaq - one of first investors and has now raised almost $8 million - Click here
Verticly - first investor 2014 and has now raised $1.7 million - Click here
Endource - raised £1.1 million - Click here
Xtgem - One of the top sites in Asia - click here
Tech.eu - Now one of the most influential tech publications in Europe
REFERENCES and MORE
Please follow me and/or join my syndicate.
All the best:)
Ps. This is a serious post to explain what we invest in, but we like to be funny so here is our company website:
and my personal website:
Please apply here
I am not providing investment advice, people need to make their own investment decisions, startups are inherently risky, illiquid and they could potentially get less money or lose it all if they invest with you.
I will syndicate the best deals I see where:
- there is at least £50k of allocation
- founders are happy to do so