Reinventing the UK’s Venture Capital Landscape

In the midst of recent doom-mongering surrounding the British (or English) economy, there are still glimmers of hope for the UK's venture capital (VC) environment. One such beacon is the third fund of Firstminute Capital, an early-stage VC fund that Brent Hoberman CBE and Spencer Crawley founded in 2017.

With notable backers including Cal Henderson, co-founder of Slack, and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, Firstminute Capital's latest fund is poised for success.

Firstminute Capital raised an impressive £73 million ($91 million) in its first fund, followed by £132.3 million ($160 million) in its second fund, which was launched in November 2020.

The initial close of Fund III reached £80 million ($100 million), with additional support from various strategic investment vehicles (SPVs) totaling £32 million ($40 million). The fund's progress demonstrates the growing confidence and interest in early-stage UK and European firms.

A noteworthy aspect of Firstminute Capital's third fund is its backing by 130 unicorn creators, including co-founders of successful companies like Palantir, Ocado, Supercell, MongoDB, Check Point, Wayfair, and Zalando.

The fund also attracted participation from Mubadala Capital, six U.S. multistage firms, and global CEOs, further solidifying its reputation and credibility. This support network not only provides financial backing but also offers valuable industry expertise and connections for the fund's portfolio companies.

Fund co-founder Brent Hoberman highlighted one of Firstminute Capital's "superpowers" as leveraging its extensive network to support founders. This includes assisting with business development and bringing in star limited partners (LPs) to invest alongside the fund as angels.

Hoberman, who also organizes the annual "Founders Forum," a prominent tech event in the U.S. and Europe, exemplifies the fund's commitment to fostering a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

Firstminute Capital's portfolio boasts an impressive lineup of startups, including A.Team, Storyblok, Robocorp, Engflow, Wayve, Klang, Clockwork Labs, Ramp, Element, and Generation Home. These companies cover a diverse range of sectors and demonstrate the fund's ability to identify promising early-stage ventures with substantial growth potential.
While Firstminute Capital shows great promise, it faces fierce competition in London, which houses the largest number of early-stage VC funds in Europe.

Notable players in the London VC scene include Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Balderton Capital, Ascension, MMC Ventures, Octopus Ventures, LocalGlobe, Connect Ventures, Downing Ventures, Passion Capital, Notion Capital, Playfair Capital, Fuel Ventures, Beringea, and more.

To succeed, Firstminute Capital will need to differentiate itself by leveraging its network, expertise, and the strong track record of its founders.

With $400 million in assets under management (AUM) and a dedicated team of 20 employees across London, Berlin, and Nice, Firstminute Capital is well-positioned to make a significant impact in the European VC landscape.

As Firstminute Capital's third fund gains momentum, it is clear that the UK's VC ecosystem still holds tremendous potential for growth and innovation.