Is Billion £ VC raise really that big in Europe?

TLDR: No. It’s less than even the quarterly VC investment rate in Europe.

There was a bit of chatter in the London startup investor community recently about the welcome increase in amount of funds being raised.

I remember Jon Bradford specifically mentioning close to a £1 Billion raised in a few months by 9 funds. There was a bit of a flutter around the group when JD mentioned the figure at #fplive – people wondering if all the money could even be deployed in the relatively nascent European / London tech startup ecosystem. Someone may even have mentioned valuation bubble, or some such gobbledygook.

Take a quick look at this chart from Dow Jones (source):

VC spend europe 3q14
Click to view full image.

Last quarter VCs invested €2.4 B (~£1.8B) in European companies. At an investment run-rate of £1.8 B a quarter, and increasing, that £1 B raise in a quarter doesn’t look that big anymore.

There will be some additional liquidity from investment exits[1] – IPOs and acquisitions. But given the relatively young ecosystem in Europe – most maturing, successful European startups move(d) to the US for better valuation & operating environments – there can’t be too many exits providing the rest of liquidity.

Makes me wonder the other side now: If this £1 B raise is such a big deal, where has the VC funding been coming in from so far? We’ve been above a quarterly £1 B quarterly investing rate for over 6 quarters now. US VCs investing in Europe without direct presence?[2]

Either way, that £1 Billion figure doesn’t look as big as it sounded first up. And we really do need more of them, more frequently.

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How many white males does it take to lead and support a tech cluster?

Based on 2 recent power lists – as many as you can get in!

Both the lists are packed with white males, with little to no representation from many minority-gender groups. I’m not criticising the lists here, but taking them as a reflection of the state of our tech ecosystem. We have far to go…

Business Insider’s list of coolest 50 people in UK tech [Source]

50 Coolest People in UK Tech
Click to see full image
  • 39 of the 52(!) people on the list are white males.

  • There are ZERO, by my quick calculation, black men or women on the list.
  • There are just 8 women, in total.
  • Only 2 non-white women, Eileen Burbidge and Bindi Karia, grace the list.
    There are few people – male or female – more highly deserving of their spot on the list, but I’m surprised that there are *just* 2!


Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 [Source]

Fresh business thinking power 100 2014
Click to see full image
  • 79, out of 100, people on the list are white males.

  • Only 2 non-white women – Shalini Khemka and Bindi Karia – grace the list.
  • 2 black malesChuka Umunna and Samuel Kasumu – make the list this time. No black/origin females, sadly.
  • Only 9 out of 100 people on the list are non-white.

Considering this list is more about thinkers and influencers – it has David Cameron at #1 – than about do-ers, the lack of diversity surprises me even more. I’m sure there are lots of non-white women and men leading, encouraging, and influencing fresh business thought in the UK tech and business communities.

I may be wrong. In which case, there simply need to be more. A lot more. In my humble opinion.

Continue reading Diversity