In my decade or so of coal-face hiring, I’ve seen hundreds of versions of the following paragraph:

Hundreds.

When I see this on a job application, my heart sinks for the candidate. I also feel relief. When you’ve already read through 250 why-I’m-perfect-for-this-role personal statements, one that’s this obviously half-baked — because it matches 50 other applications to the same role…


This year has been an advanced course in humanity for our human-centric team

On 4 March 2020, my team at Backed VC hosted an event. Twenty-ish people streamed into our offices, passed each other beverages and pastries, put down glasses of water and picked them back up again, huddled around our tea point to whisper comments directly into each other’s ears.

Recounting that today, it feels unhinged.

On 10 March I sent a hastily-researched Covid-19 Business Continuity Guide to our portfolio founders, outdated as soon as it was sent (the hubristic “We will be trialling remote work for five business days” still haunts me). On 11 March…


BACKED INTERVIEWS

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…


In the backyard with…Andy Shovel | Co-founder of THIS™ | Image McGill Collection

BACKED INTERVIEWS

Co-founder of THIS

Andy is the co-founder of THIS™, the brand of plant-based meat alternative food products with industry-leading realism to meat in taste, appearance and texture. It’s unbelievably good.

🧰 | My first ever job…

I used to be one of those tedious clubbing photographers who would take a photo and then immediately thrust my ‘Capital VIP’ card into your hand, so you could go online and pay £3 to see how over-exposed I made your face in 2004 Photoshop.

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

Just opened my phone’s browser and it was…how to use hydrogen peroxide to…


BACKED INTERVIEWS

VP Global Community & Belonging Brandwatch, Founder & CEO Hustle Crew, BACKED Community

🧰 | My first ever job…

Technically my first invoice was for acting in a Radio 4 play whilst at school. It was so fun taking a day trip to BBC Maida Vale!

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

bell hooks! I just went down the Youtube rabbit hole hearing her take on how we’re all socialised to perpetuate inequality and discrimination. Watch this.

🔎 | I want to learn more about…

Shame. I love Brene Brown’s research on shame. I think it’s a real blocker for people when it comes to the work I do educating…


BACKED INTERVIEWS

Creative Director, Designer, BACKED Community

🧰 | My first ever job…

The first ever job I had was as an engineer in a hospital. I used to go around and fix whatever people needed. In my first week I was replacing a computer in an operating theatre when somebody got rushed in for surgery. I had to change into the scrubs and everything to keep working while they did their thing. I had just turned 17 too. It’s pretty difficult to care about installing Windows 7 Enterprise Edition when there’s a room full of doctors and nurses giving blood transfusions and emergency oxygen.

🧠 |…


FROM THE BACKED PORTFOLIO

LabGenius is the first biopharmaceutical company developing next generation protein therapeutics using a machine learning-driven evolution engine (EVA™️). This story originally appeared on their Medium publication. Head there to find out more about their exciting work.

Machine learning has the potential to provide huge value to drug discovery, in particular by reducing its failure rate and reversing the 60 year trend of decreasing R&D efficiency, as outlined in my previous post here.

But let’s start with the basics of how drugs have been made until now. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, you will probably have heard more about how drugs…


BACKED People & Culture Series

How to build a fair & inclusive recruitment strategy from scratch

Perhaps let’s not ask these guys

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m a white woman with a Cambridge degree. (Q: How do you know if someone went to Oxbridge? A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you). I tell you this not to brag, but to confess. You see, eighteen years ago, when I received my acceptance letter to study within those ivory towers, I believed in my heart that if a miner’s granddaughter from a single-income household in Glasgow could ‘do it’ through sheer determination and hard work (as I saw it), then anyone could. I was low on gratitude, ‘privilege’ was for toffs, and I didn’t…


BACKED People & Culture Series

How to stress-test your values to create a meaningful, authentic culture

“Culture”. It’s not just for hippies. (HLD/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

When I joined Backed in 2018, I was a refugee from the corporate world. I’d spent a decade or so working in traditional, grey-suit professional services outfits where hierarchy was king and the word ‘culture’ was for hippies. At interview, nothing showed me I wasn’t in Kansas any more quite so much as the frequency, and thoughtfulness, with which the Backed team talked about their values. They were mentioned in all of my six interviews. I was interrogated for my thoughts on each one. They were Blu-tacked to the windows of the corner they occupied in an East London co-working…

BACKED

Notes and stories from the BACKED community.

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