A few weeks back, when the whole world changed, we knew we’d have to adapt alongside it. Slowing down or reducing our commitment to back new, early-stage founders was not an option so we had to find a way to bring the magic, energy and interactive nature of our in-person, pre-seed Investment Forum and translate it into a new, online-only experience.
Since launching Fund IV in late 2017, we’ve introduced many new processes to help us maintain our high-volume of early-stage investments and to ensure we’re able to meet as many new European founders as possible. As part of our rolling and open submissions on our website, every 6-8 weeks we hold an ‘Investment Forum’ where we invite pre-seed companies we’ve been following and who’ve already pitched to our investment team, present in front of our own LPs. This tends to be a fast-paced, half-day affair where we have up to 15 companies from all across Europe present their business ideas in front of leading later stage investors and high-net-worths, enabling early-stage founders to get on the radar of growth funds and opening up potential syndication opportunities with some of the angel investors in the room.
With 35 LPs dialling in from seven different countries and presentations from 11 pre-seed startups across five, we wanted to break down how we made it work and why online-only should not in any way deter founders from seeking funding or investors from backing new companies. Now more than ever is a time for innovation and solutions that will fundamentally help with changes to the way we live, interact and buy.
Don’t forget, if you are an early-stage founder looking for investment, submissions are open on our website right here.
We definitely had some serious questions about how we would be able to migrate our Investment Forum into an online-only format and what it would mean from a relationship perspective, both in terms of getting to know new founders and being able to engage with our own LPs. Thankfully, with the right tech tools, team and planning, we were able to come up with an incredibly detailed operation to ensure a slick operation.
To reduce friction in an online-only arena creating a seamless experience where multiple pre-seed founders can present their businesses, investors feel engaged and stay for the duration and our core team participates throughout, ultimately leading to us investing in multiple new companies.
Once clear on what we wanted to achieve, we then created an incredibly detailed breakdown of roles, responsibilities and testing of the best tech tools to help us get there.
- Notion – our ‘source of truth’ and THE singular place where all aspects were laid out: notes, external links, pre, during and post-event responsibilities and the agenda for the day itself.
- Zoom – we explored multiple tech solutions for how best to make this work; from a simple Zoom call, to live YouTube stream. In the end, we settled on a Zoom Webinar, ensuring we could manage the large number of attendees coming in and out (for the different startups presenting) and reducing friction or the need to train people in how to use a new tool. It also ensured solid data capture and seamless follow-up actions, all adding to the overall experience of the event itself.
- Telegram – this event required serious synchronisation across the entire team and speedy communication. We set up separate Telegram groups with all of the 11 startups presenting to ensure they felt supported and were clear on what they needed to do, timings for their presentation and all necessary links.
On the day
All events, be them online or offline, have their glitches. Thankfully, the biggest issue we experienced was connectivity problems for one of the founders presenting – bring on 5G? Our team was split across founder management, tech and presenting, ensuring all elements ran as smoothly as possible and maintaining engagement levels from our LPs.
We’re thrilled to announce our investment in three new companies as a result of our first ever remote-only Investment Forum. These companies are tackling everything from driving better standards in carbon markets to extracting knowledge from recorded meetings and providing better medical staff profiling for career growth and research collaboration.
Our pre-seed Investment Forum takes place every 6-8 weeks and provides highly competitive terms for founders. The next one will take place in the middle of May. If you’d like to be considered and join the likes of TransferWise, Revolut and UiPath and become part of the Seedcamp Nation then we’d love to know what you’re building right here.
We believe although the world is currently in flux, that with these sort of occurrences also comes an opportunity for great things to be built by great people and we are here to back these founders and be a part of that journey from the earliest stage on.