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2020 will go down in history as the year software saved the world. As Covid-19 hit, we went remote — almost overnight. We’d been doing it all already — occasional days working from home, buying clothes, food and furniture online, chatting to colleagues on Zoom and family members on Skype. But in March it became the only option.

Now, we share glasses of wine over Zoom with friends, after using it to attend all-day virtual conferences. Our parents, once loyal customers of their local supermarket, order their weekly shop online. At work, we all rely on a huge number of…


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I remember being a founder in the trenches over 20 years ago. I co-founded Selftrade, a share-dealing platform, in 1997 and sold it in 2000. This is where I learnt about listening; listening to customers. We always built what they wanted — even if that meant redesigning entire processes from scratch.

Our tagline was “We make share dealing a doddle”, and we stuck to that. Even when the dot-com bust hit, we were uncompromising. It was never about the easiest way of doing something; it was about making the product the best to use and keeping users front of mind…


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There is a lot of noise in the funding market today — from VCs saying they are open for business on the one hand, to startups seeing term sheets being pulled and punitive terms being offered on the other.

Our view is very clear. Wonderful companies are being created all the time and it would be a shame to miss out on their journeys just because it is raining outside. Clearly, there are a couple of tough years on the horizon but we have found that companies forged and succeeding in the smeltery of recession do very well when better…


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The UK government pledged this morning to invest £1.25bn in high-growth companies — a bailout for VC-backed businesses struggling to survive through the coronavirus lockdown. Here’s the FT’s coverage. The co-investment fund will see private sector money matched with state-backed loans that can convert into equity stakes.

At Dawn, we welcome this support. We see this not only as a support for exciting individual tech businesses but as a wise investment in the future of UK Tech.

By their nature, venture-backed businesses do not hoard cash. They are built to run close to the wire and funnel their limited cash…


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It is strange what comes to the fore, now we all work at home. I have been forgetting to keep hydrated, while sticking to the thing I have found most valuable in this brave new world — meditating.

But somewhere between those, I find myself thinking about founders. This is unsurprising; I work at a VC firm. But, in fact, I believe that, at this moment, we should all spare a thought for founders.

Being a founder is a very lonely place. And now, many founders — the value-creators of every economy — will find themselves alone.

When you start…


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No tall poppy syndrome at Dawn

This week we announced the closing of Dawn Opportunities Fund. At $125M, it’s Europe’s largest B2B opportunities fund. We have already deployed a good portion of it in Collibra — the leading data governance and cataloguing company — alongside Alphabet’s CapitalG growth fund in the recent $100M round. We backed Collibra from the very beginning via our flagship fund and it’s great to be in the first Belgacorn.

As a firm, this builds on our history of backing our best businesses to the hilt — we were a double digit shareholder in Mimecast [MIME] at the NASDAQ IPO. In the…


This article first appeared in the The Sunday Telegraph on Sunday 7 July 2018

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When it comes to welcoming the talent Britain needs, it should look to the likes of San Francisco as a guide Credit: Getty Images

For a glimpse of what Britain’s increasingly toxic immigration debate might mean for our entrepreneurial culture take a visit to California. In San Francisco, the city’s Bart trains are plastered with adverts lambasting the US’s H-1B visa system, which allows local technology companies to hire skilled foreign workers, for taking jobs from Americans.

Meanwhile, on the state’s highways, you see billboards paid for by the Canadian government, capitalising on a tougher immigration climate in the US and seeking to persuade foreign-born innovators to set up shop north of the border instead. …


This article first appeared in the The Sunday Telegraph on Sunday 9 September 2018

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The world’s greatest tech giants show the way for other businesses to follow if they want to succeed Credit: REUTERS

As the “Fang” stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google), power the US stock market to even headier heights, it’s easy to get carried away with the idea that technology companies are the only game in town. But the bigger truth is that every business now has to be a technology business if it wants to succeed.

Take the Fangs themselves. While you might class Facebook and Google as pure-play tech companies, Amazon and Netflix offer traditional products through a new channel. Much of what they offer isn’t new at all.

Having spent the summer in San Francisco, I’ve seen countless businesses…


Dawn earlier this week announced the closing of Dawn III — at $235m (£165m), Dawn III is the single largest dedicated B2B venture fund in Europe. We are very pleased to about this outcome as it supports our long-standing thesis that Europe has a tremendous ability and even further potential to create global software leaders.

As with our previous two funds, Dawn III will be dedicated to supporting the most promising early-stage SaaS and FinTech companies in Europe, for whom we continue to see a vast landscape of opportunity.

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In SaaS, the transition to the cloud continues to fuel innovation…


Dawn earlier this week announced the closing of Dawn III — at $235m (£165m), Dawn III is the single largest dedicated B2B venture fund in Europe. We are very pleased to about this outcome as it supports our long-standing thesis that Europe has a tremendous ability and even further potential to create global software leaders.

As with our previous two funds, Dawn III will be dedicated to supporting the most promising early-stage SaaS and FinTech companies in Europe, for whom we continue to see a vast landscape of opportunity.

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In SaaS, the transition to the cloud continues to fuel innovation…

Haakon Overli

Venture Capitalist at Dawn Capital

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