Empowering under-represented founders to raise their next round

Jonathan Hollis
Mountside Ventures
Published in
3 min readAug 9, 2022


This year, we were selected by Funding London to run an investor readiness programme aimed at under-represented founders raising their pre-seed to Series A in the next 6 months, in partnership with the London Business Hub and the British Business Bank.

We were excited to do our bit to maximise the chances of under-represented founders raising, given the small proportion of funding that goes to this community relative to its proportional representation amongst the founder population.

We have since completed two programmes, with the next one launching soon (Details below!) and are delighted by the response so far.

The programme structure

The formal aspect of the programme runs for 6 weeks.

We usually run 6 half days of workshops, with each company receiving over 20 hours of fundraising training.

We try to deliver the workshops in person — Wayra UK, Playfair Capital and now MMC Ventures have all been supportive in hosting us for our programme kick-off. Hearing from investors after delivering the first session cemented a lot of the learning for the cohort.

The workshops are designed to be fully collaborative and interactive, with plenty of engagement from the companies. Examples of topics covered include:

  • Funding options and strategy;
  • Getting investor-ready and what this involves;
  • Know your numbers — Financial modeling and valuation;
  • Creating FOMO in the fundraising process;
  • The journey to obtaining a term sheet;
  • What is the ‘market standard’ when it comes to Term Sheets, leveraging our latest Term Sheet report; and
  • What to expect post-investment.

1 on 1 support

Although a large proportion of the content is applicable to all the companies in the cohort (for example, we go through 10 ways of building competitive tensions, which is relevant at all stages of the fundraising process), we also provide 1-on-1 support for the companies — often covering specific challenges they are facing (including deck support, financial forecasting, pitching and investor engagement)

Pitch practice

All companies find pitch practices valuable. Condensing your value proposition and presenting a clear, short pitch is difficult, even for the best of founders, and there is always room for improvement.

Investor office hours

Towards the end of the programme, we run Investor office hours between the companies and investors. These have worked well in the past and give the investors early access to deals, before the companies go out to market.

Previous participants include:

  • Passionfruit — Where VC-backed startups connect with vetted freelance marketing specialists.
  • ON Beaute — the first beauty aggregator of product reviews from experienced beauty journalists, beauty buyers, makeup artists, qualified dermatologists, and aestheticians.
  • Atcha — who are building the home of healthy Indian food.
  • Deja — e-commerce business delivering natural products from the Ancient Science of Ayurveda
  • Immersionn — who are transforming 2D flat websites into 3D virtual worlds using the power of the gaming industry.
  • The Cirkel — building the second-hand designer fashion marketplace

What founders have said so far

“I’d recommend the Investment Ready Programme for all early stage founders. Content was comprehensive but accessible and the team go above and beyond with their support.”

Issah Abdul-Moomin, CEO, PassionFruit

“The Investment Ready programme is like nothing I’ve come across before. It’s a crash course on every step of the fundraising journey targeted at UK startups, provided by experts who are fully plugged in within the investment landscape. I would recommend it to any Founder no matter what stage they are at.”

Aadit Shankar, CEO, Atcha

“Amazing content. Probably one of the most in-depth startup funding programmes available.”

Austin Tasker, Co-founder, The Cirkel

What’s next?

We’re launching our third cohort on 29th September 2022!

We would love to hear from you if you are:

  • Based in London with a UK-registered company
  • Some commercial traction
  • Looking to raise your next round in the next 6 months

You can apply here, before 31 August 2022.

Don’t think the programme is for you? We also work with companies looking to raise on a 1 on 1 basis and you can register your details here, and one of our team will get in touch.



Jonathan Hollis
Mountside Ventures

Managing Partner of Mountside Ventures, on a mission to optimise the fundraising process for European startups and investors. Chartered Accountant. ex-PwC.