Trail running the Jungfrau. Yay.

Stride.VC — one year in.

Harry and I started working on Stride.VC with a view that we would look to build a venture capital firm with a positive view of the world where we constantly asked the question of “what’s possible?” and “how can we help?”.

2018 was our first year of operation; it’s been mostly focused on putting together the basic building blocks. The real work is that of standing alongside our entrepreneurs and helping them build companies, but without a singular focus on getting cash in and building your infrastructure, this is just talk!

So how did we do in year one?

Keep on reading as I kept the big news for last (welcome P!) and head over to our second podcast together for a deep dive..

We closed the fund.

It’s official: in 2018, we exceeded our “minimum viable target” of £50M. Steve O’Hear at Techcrunch interviewed us to get more colour on strategy and did a great write-up which got us a lot of kudos from the community.

We are grateful to all the investors who have backed us so far including Draper Esprit, Delin Capital, Compagnie Nationale a Portefeuille (Groupe Frere), Korelya Capital, Entree Capital, Merifin as well as the newly de-merged marketplaces division of Schibsted (codenamed MPI).

A number of great founders and industry execs have also invested including Alex Chesterman of Zoopla, Henri Moissinac from Uber, Garrett Curran, Riccardo Zacconi, Sebastian Knutsson and Stephane Kurgan of King.com, Ahmed Husain, and others.

We started investing.

So far we have announced two investments.

  • Forward Health: Forward’s mission is to enable better health outcomes by building a real-time communications tool for the healthcare industry. We were impressed by the grassroots adoption of this consumer-grade app and Harry led a £3M round, bringing in some great angels like Jay Desai of PatientPing or Ron Bouganim at Govtech Fund as well as health-tech investors Albion.
  • Cazoo: we teamed up with Alex Chesterman again on Cazoo to lead a £30M round (yes, I know…) to attack yet another broken consumer experience, second-hand car buying. Stay tuned.

We continued to push out some great content and build mindshare.

Harry hand-crafted The Twenty Minute VC to what we believe is probably now the largest media asset in venture capital. With over 8M downloads a month and 260,000 subscribers, he’s now in a unique position to accompany entrepreneurs along their fundraising and company building journey, and he’s constantly putting out some amazing content. I highly recommend you spend the time to listen to the stories and learnings of Scott Belsky (link), Sarah Tavel (link)or Elad Gil (link).

I’m nowhere near as disciplined as young Harry here but love writing and have shared my thoughts on how to achieve success (Zoopla, Pillpack) or where to raise seed money in London.

We shipped a lot of money back to our (former) LPs.

I made the Forbes Midas List for the second year in a row on the back of strong exits over summer (Zoopla $3BN, Pillpack $1BN, IAS $850M) and value creation at two companies reportedly considering IPOs (Deliveroo and Secret Escapes). Toot toot!

We grew stronger as a team: welcome Pia.

The key when starting any business is to lay out a vision that gets people excited and build a culture where talent feels like it can express itself.

In the fall we added Arjuna Soysa as our Operating Partner. Arj was most recently head of finance for LGT Impact and previously worked at Atomico for 4 years as #2 of the finance team. He’s obsessed with processes and systems and will fully automate our already robust backend, as well as contribute to the quality of our investment decisions.

Today we’re also delighted to announce the arrival of our third investing partner, Pia d’Iribarne. She joins us from Accel. The portfolio of companies she sourced or worked with is strong — notably Doctolib, Payfit, Shift Technology and Selency. Entrepreneurs love her and she has a knack for finding great opportunities.

Pia knows exactly what she wants out of life and I’m delighted she made the decision to work with us. We expect her to have a major impact on Stride. We always wanted to cover a second hub and with her on board, we will be expanding our efforts to cover both Paris and London immediately.

Vive la France! Welcome Pia!

Onward.