List of VC Funds

list-of-vc-fundsFor several years, I have been building a personal, private list of venture capital funds that invest in the UK technology space. Please note that this is a list of active VC funds, sorted by vintage date, not of VC firms. My private list dates back to 2000 and has over 300 funds on it.

Recently, I started recording all this information in an easy to use online database. The database lists all VC funds relevant to the UK market that have been launched since March 2007 (that I can find/know of). It can be found here. I haven’t had the time to backfill all funds launched since 2000, but it is a start:

I think this could be very useful to all entrepreneurs raising capital. If you help me build the list, then I think this could become a great tool for the community. Enjoy.

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VC Fund Raising Manual – 7 Term Sheet

When you are out VC fund-raising, getting a term sheet from a VC firm is the crystallizing moment of your relationship with that firm. If you sign it, you are very close to getting the funding. But before you sign it, you need to negotiate it.

This article is part of a series, you can find the Index of the VC Fund Raising Manual here.

Negotiating a term sheet is difficult, largely because you don’t know what the real market value of your company actually is. How do you establish that? The VCs see lots of deals, they know the market better than you do. How can you equalize that position? There is only one solution to this problem:

Unless you have multiple term sheets on the table at the same time, you have no way of assessing what the real market value of your company is. Also: being able to walk away from a deal will put you in a much stronger negotiating position.

Imagine it like looking for a new job. Ideally, you want multiple job offers at the same time, so you can choose the best one. It is the same with VC funding.

The secret to successfully raising funding is that all communications that you have with VCs must lead to a point in time where all the different people give you a term sheet. In the best scenario, you get them all on the same day. If not, then you get them in the same week. Getting them all in the same month is most likely too far spaced apart. In order to be able to receive multiple term sheets at the same time, you have to start talking to VCs at the same time. Ideally in the same week. Pursue VCs in parallel, not in sequence.

For all other aspects of how to negotiate a term sheet, I suggest you visit Venture Hacks. I think the picture below speaks more than a 1000 words about how useful that site is for ‘hacking’ a term sheet, enjoy:

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VC Fund Raising Manual – 6 Partner Presentation

The presentation to all partners in a VC firm wil decide whether that firm will issue you a term sheet. This pitch is just as important as the pitch you give to the one partner that you have been working together with for the last few months, if not more important. However, the emphasis of the pitch is different to the first pitch that you gave. The partner pitch has to prevent the partners from saying NO, not to make them actively say YES.

This article is part of a series, you can find the Index of the VC Fund Raising Manual here.

In order to understand why the partner presentation is so important, you need to understand that most VC firms are partnerships. This partnership, an investment partnership, makes the investment decisions as a group. It is extremely common practice that if one partner is really unhappy about a deal, the deal is not done, regardless of what the other partners think.

So, during due diligence, you have made the partner whom you have have been working together with so excited and confident, that now she is happy for you to present to all the other partners. In a sense, she is now your sponsor in that group of people. Also remember that most of the partners will not be experts in your area. The expert is the partner you have been working together with for the last few months. The others are likely to listen to the opinion of the expert in the group, unless they can find some real flaws in what you are pitching.

So, you and your sponsoring partner will walk in the room and you will get to know all the other partners. The partner who is sponsoring you has already been pitching all the other partners about you several times. They are all pretty agreed that the deal you are offering is very exciting. Your job in this pitch is not to convince them that this deal is exciting. They are already excited. Your only job is not to screw it up at this stage. Your job is to prevent one partner vetoing the deal:

So, whatever you do, don’t do any of the following things:

  • No surprises. They might not like whatever it is that you pull out of the hat (well, unless it is good news, e.g. “We just closed our first customer” or “The technology works twice as fast and twice as well as we thought”)
  • Don’t change your pitch. The partners there are sold on your pitch already, never change the winning story.
  • No unnecessary details. Whatever they are, they might not like them. Keep it simple.

Overall, your job is to give the same pitch, removing some of the finer detail, that you gave to the partner who is now sponsoring you.

Focus your attention on the biggest naysayers. One person who dislikes your deal is enough to kill it. Focus your attention on that person and win her over.

Overall, pitching to many partners is like doing a PhD viva. You have already been doing all your work. Your supervisor has proof-read your dissertation and has submitted it with her approval to her peers for peer review. The peers don’t actually need to love your PhD. Or at least not enough to be happy to sponsor it. But if they dislike it, they will make you go back to do some more work. And you really don’t want to do that.

The same is true for VCs. You really don’t want to fail at this stage, after having gone through all the due diligence.

After a successfull partner presentation, the VC firm is likely to offer you a term sheet, which I will talk about in Part 7 of this series. This article is part of a series, you can find the Index of the VC Fund Raising Manual here.

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