It’s ironic that we invest at the pinnacle of innovation but are pretty much still operating the same structures and models as when the industry first developed 30 years ago. I think this is down to the length of time each venture cycle takes and the GP/LP structure.
I put together and invest in venture and growth deals around Europe, in tech and healthcare. After running a successful venture at university, I started to make angel investments in the nascent startup world, becoming well socialised into London’s early startup scene. As tech started to boom, I learned the fundamentals of venture economics and deal making, which have underpinned my career to date.
Epiphany Capital advises high-growth companies on their journey through the venture world, building funding rounds with investors across Europe to grow category leading start-ups.
To date, we’ve been involved in around 50 transactions, raising just short of £100 million in total.
I also established Manchester Venture Partners (MVP), a sidecar vehicle to co-invest directly with more firepower. MVP has participated alongside several top-tier investors in both direct investment and secondary transactions.
We advise and invest in companies at the cutting edge of tech innovation – everything from the deeptech to power autonomous vehicles, to consumer genetic testing. The key question for us is the ability of any one technology to dominate its market.
EIS is one of the most generous gifts given to any start up ecosystem, globally, and takes the sting out of risk-taking (and return making). However, it does often have the ability to blur judgement – with private investors, and sometimes funds focussing on tax incentives (or timing) as a key motivator for investment. I take the opposite approach – looking for fundamentally strong businesses, with EIS as an advantage.
The more time you spend doing what you do, the better you get at it and the more people recognise your experience. Treat everything as a learning opportunity - learn everything about your industry, work out why things operate as they do and meet everyone.
The ability to communicate and embed communication in their organisation’s culture. Nothing gives stakeholders more confidence than knowing where they stand or understand that their concerns are being dealt with.
Ambition. The risk in investing in any start-up is huge, so there may as well be a huge return at the other end.
To be honest, I don’t. Venture capital could innovate drastically, but I don’t think it will. It’s ironic that we invest at the pinnacle of innovation but are pretty much still operating the same structures and models as when the industry first developed 30 years ago. I think this is down to the length of time each venture cycle takes and the GP/LP structure.
Having said that, there are pockets of change around venture debt becoming more available, and a couple of revenue-share investment models. We’ll see over the next three to five years if those pan out successfully.