Ada Ventures — Three years in
Ada Ventures launched on the 12th of December 2019 so today is our three year anniversary.
The launch of Ada Ventures and announcement of our £38m Fund I at Techcrunch Disrupt in Berlin on a freezing day culminated four years of working together, two years of planning and 18 months of fundraising. Despite the cold, fear of the story being leaked and our nerves at how the fund and strategy would be received, Matt and I had huge smiles on our faces, embodying one of Ada Ventures core values: joy.
Today — just three years later, we are at nearly £90m under management at Ada Ventures, with a second fund raised, the smiles are still as broad as ever and we feel incredibly fortunate to be able to wake up every day, serve our investors and founders and do a job that we love.
So what have we done this year?
- We have reviewed 1,563 investment ops between Jan-November (an increase of 20% Y-o-Y so far), bringing our total investments analysed to 3,863.
- Of these, 84% shared information about the gender and ethnicity of their founding teams. We are proud of the fact that over 50% were teams with at least one female or non-binary founder. 31% of teams were all-white, the remaining 69% of teams had at least one team member with mixed/multiple ethnicities or who was Black, African, Caribbean, Black British, Asian or Asian British. In 2023 we plan to broaden the data we collect and transparently share more about this aspect of our process in order to advance the whole ecosystem.
- We have invested in six new companies this year. Four new companies from Fund I (Financial inclusion platform ESTHER, VR training leader MOONHUB, the search engine for flexible companies Flexa, process orchestration specialists Process Metronome) and two more new investments which will soon close from Fund II.
- We have maintained a strong score on Landscape of 4.6 stars from founders we have and haven’t invested in. We’re constantly looking to improve this and welcome feedback.
- We raised and closed Fund II at £36m with a further close to come in the new year. We were supported by our existing investors including the British Business Bank through its Enterprise Capital Funds programme, Atomico, Taavet+Sten, the Supercell co-founders and added notable investors including Molten, The University of Edinburgh, Plexo Capital and more. News of the fundraise was covered by a wide range of outlets including Sky News, TechCrunch and TechFunding News
- Fund II will double down on three key themes — climate, healthcare & ageing and economic empowerment.
- We ran three portfolio trips to the East and West Coast of the US. We worked with these companies and others to help them raise money, access customers and talent in the US with our SF based US Representative Bola Adegbulu.
Open Venture — teaching and learning
As part of our continued commitment to Open Venture we:
- Ran AdaCon for the 4th time with keynotes, Tik Tok personal finance leader Kia Commadore, Candice Morgan, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Partner at GV and we announced the expansion of our scout and angel programme
- Released research about our scout network with UCL showing that the scouts source a more diverse set of founders than we meet through other channels.
- Sponsored a programme of female founders (Beyond HERizons) with London & Partners to go to Silicon Valley where we were joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
- Joined as a founding signatory the Access2Funding Campaign for disabled entrepreneurs.
- Joined the High Growth Taskforce for Female Entrepreneurs, led by Anne Boden of Starling Bank.
- Launched the second cohort of the angel programme where 20 new angel investors will have the opportunity to invest in companies in their network and make 100% of the carried interest on the investments they make.
We grew the Ada Ventures Team
- We hired Diarra Smith as Head of Portfolio & Brand at Ada Ventures. In just six months Diarra has already added so much to Ada Ventures and we can’t remember how we managed without him.
- We worked with Patricia El Jichi as an On Purpose Associate. Patricia has been fantastic — smart, passionate, hardworking and fun to be around.
- Giulia and Chintu joined us as Future VC interns over the summer, supporting investment research, investor relations, sourcing and portfolio support.
Last but not least, despite the challenging macro conditions, companies in the Fund I portfolio have been making a massive impact in their fields.
- Huboo, an eCommerce fulfilment partner was recognised in an intelligence report from Sifted as one of Europe’s top 100 rising B2B businesses knocking on the door of unicorn status.
- SideQuest raised a £12m Series A led by M.G. Siegler at GV.
- The Organise network enabled thousands staff at John Lewis staff to campaign to get the Living Wage.
- Bubble, the UK's family support platform and childcare app teamed up with Creature London to launch its biggest ever marketing campaign.
- Spill, the all-in-one mental health support for employees reached over 500 companies, Spill is now serving over 30,000 employees providing them access to next-day therapy sessions.
- CIRCA5000, the impact investing platform, continued to build out its ETF team as it prepares for its ETF launch in the UK in Q1 next year.
- Boundless the OS for global teams operates in over 24 countries and its CEO and co-founder, Dee Coakley was named on the Top 100 women in Irish Tech by Business Post.
- Flexa® Careers, the global directory of verified flexible companies was chosen by hiyield as Top 5 startups to watch in 2022.
We also had our first Ada Ventures team baby, born after the company was formed, in baby Pip on the 7th December 2021. More to come about that journey in a separate post!
We are hugely looking forward to 2023.
- We are actively seeking to invest in more impactful companies addressing the needs of underserved groups across climate, healthcare & ageing and economic empowerment. Please pitch us if you think your company could be a fit!
- We’ll be stepping up the quality and depth of impact work we do with the founders we work with.
- We are going to be reopening scout applications and welcoming 20 new operator angels into the Ada Angels programme.
- We’ll be welcoming two new hires to the team at Ada Ventures.
- We are refining our US strategy for portfolio companies and look forward to sharing more in 2023.
Thanks for following our journey and all your support.