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In the backyard with…Stuart Gardner

Angel Investor, BACKED Community

In his own words, Stuart is a former ‘startup’er’ (founding team at Comufy, sold to King.com, the team behind CandyCrush). He’s now an angel investor. He’s sector and geo agnostic, and has invested in ~80 companies to date.

🧰 | My first ever job…

I used to be a paperboy for Georgie Best (sadly, not the footballer), my local corner shop owner. Child labour at its finest…but the copious amounts of penny sweets we were given made it worthwhile.

The youth of today will never know the pain of getting up at 5:30am on a wet and cold December morning, to lug around a ridiculously heavy bag of the Sunday newspapers.

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

The new Mario Kart AR kit for the Nintendo Switch, which I saw this week on BBC Click. It has been added to my Christmas wish list. Mario Kart made up a large chunk of my wasted youth, and it looks like it’s about to continue into adulthood.

🔎 | I want to learn more about…

Psychedelics (shhh… don’t tell my mum!). The research and the benefits for conditions such as anxiety, depression, addiction, are pretty compelling, and I think we will see prescribed psychedelics within the decade. Not to mention all the pretty colours…

💁🏼‍♂️ | My special power is…

…still yet to reveal itself. I don’t think I have any innate talent above and beyond anyone else, except perhaps for an unhealthy appetite for taking career risk. Any success I’ve had has been largely down to a mix of good fortune, timing, and a healthy dose of hard work.

⚒️ | A problem that needs a better solution…

The increasing feeling that we’re unable to speak our minds, have an opinion, or engage in debate, without it descending into chaos, mud slinging, reputational damage, and retribution — both online and in the real world. This applies equally across the political spectrum, though what was once limited to the outer fringes now appears to be edging towards the mainstream, and this causes me concern.

I don’t have a silver bullet solution, but you only have to read the press (maybe this is where I’m going wrong…!) to see it moving away from being predominantly political, to impacting secondary and tertiary education (de-platforming / cancel culture, the ability for students to opt out of being exposed to material that may be provocative, the ‘tabooisation’ of certain topics such as religion etc.), the workplace (see Coinbase’s recent decision re: politics at work), and the society at large.

This is a problem where I don’t think more technology is the answer, and tech has in fact played a facilitating role in bringing us to this point.

⚡ | A sector / technology / trend I’m excited about right now…

Health-tech is really exciting at the moment. ~20–25% of our investments are in health-tech, from digital tools and therapies, through to diagnostics, drug discovery, and medical hardware. I’m very bullish on health-tech, and I’m a big believer that the adoption of technology will help make health-care more cost effective whilst delivering improved clinical outcomes. Also, losing money on a healthcare investment doesn’t feel so bad — you can at least tell yourself that you lost money *trying* to help cure [insert disease of choice].

🙈 | My guilty pleasure is…

Reading celebrity gossip in the Daily Mail. And eating dim sum.

🎉 | I’m hosting a dinner party. My three special guests are…

  1. Michael Jordan. They say never meet your childhood heroes, but after watching The Last Dance, I still wanna be like Mike.
  2. Kiera Knightley. Growing up, I was suuure we were going to cross paths and she’d fall for my Mario Kart skills. Sadly life had other plans.
  3. Bill Burr. Maybe a controversial choice, especially in the current climate, but I feel like I can channel my anger vicariously through him, and come out laughing on the other side.
In the backyard with…Stuart Gardner | Angel Investor, BACKED Community | Image British Library

This series introduces the talented, gritty and good humans of the BACKED Community.

BACKED is the human-centric venture capital fund. We invest in exceptional founders, at Seed, in Europe. Put People First | Be An Apprentice | Push the Limits | Bring Good Energy. Since 2015.

Want more Stuart? Here’s his LinkedIn

Want more BACKED? Here’s our Newsletter | Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

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Notes and stories from the BACKED community.

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We’re the human-centric European VC fund. Put People First • Be An Apprentice • Push the Limits • Bring Good Energy. Since 2015.

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