Top VCs in London 2022

24 October 2022

Find out the most active VC funds between 2011 and 2021, based on the number of investments made into London companies.

advice : Fundraising, Investment and Tech

London has long been the leader in European VC funding and entrepreneurship. Since 2011, VC firms have contributed over £26 billion to London’s start-ups and scale-ups. VC investment in London predominantly goes to early-stage start-ups, with 76% of that funding going to either seed or venture-stage businesses. 

Beauhurst has ranked the most active VC funds in the city between 2011 and 2021, by the number of investments made into London-based companies. In this blog, we will be looking at the highest contributors to London’s entrepreneurship landscape.

1. Ascension

Ascension is an early-stage VC built by successful entrepreneurs to back the next generation of tech and impact founders. The fund also offers mentoring services and access to its network of industry contacts. 

With visibility of over 3k investment opportunities a year, Ascension invests through a number of funds, including tax efficient funds like Ascension EIS, Ascension SEIS, and the Ascension Life Fund, as well as its institutional funds Fair By Design, and Good Food Fund. Beauhurst research indicates that it typically invests between £300k and £1.2m and tracked 176 of investments into 114 London start-ups. 

2. Octopus Ventures

Octopus Group is a fund manager that was founded in 2000 by Simon Rogerson, Christopher Hulatt, and Guy Myles. The group expanded into other areas, including energy, real estate, and wealth management. Its investments into private companies are carried out through its European venture capital arm, Octopus Ventures, launched in 2008. 

Octopus Ventures backs up companies led by talented entrepreneurs that are seeking to make a significant, positive impact on the world, primarily investing in businesses operating in the healthcare, fintech, deeptech, and consumer sectors. Investments typically start at £1m for seed rounds, and £10m for venture rounds, and the fund seeks to continue supporting its portfolio companies through to IPO. The fund also provides companies with a network of coaches and operating consultants.

Since 2011, Octopus Group has backed 95 London-based companies, through at least 162 equity deals. Big names in this fund’s portfolio include Secret Escapes, online marketplaces Depop and Cazoo, vegan meal subscription company allplants, and food waste reduction app OLIO.

3. Seedcamp

Seedcamp was launched in 2007 and invests in founders using technology to tackle large, global markets. The fund is focused on early-stage companies, with typical investment sizes between £100k and £2m. Most commonly it backs software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. The fund supports its companies with finding their product-market fit, builds out their sales and marketing functions, and makes introductions to a global network of experts. 

Seedcamp has an excellent track record, having backed several of the UK’s unicorn companies (Revolut, Wise, and Hopin). Since 2011, the fund has invested in 108 ambitious businesses in London, through at least 149 separate equity funding rounds. 

4. SFC Capital

SFC Capital (previously Startup Funding Club) is an early-stage investment firm, providing growth capital to UK start-ups. SFC. Its portfolio includes vertical farming tech venture Vertical Future, facial biometrics and cybersecurity company Onfido, ESG data analysis software firm Nossa Data, and biotech company CodiKoat. 

The fund invests between £100k and £300k in EIS or SEIS-qualifying companies, as long as they have a clear USP and initial traction. It operates on a unique model, combining its award-winning angel network with its own seed investment fund, and looks to build long-term relationships with both entrepreneurs and investors. Since 2011, SFC Capital has supported 123 ambitious businesses in London, through at least 148 equity funding rounds. 

5. Index Ventures

Index Ventures works with founders in any sector, at any stage, but its portfolio shows a particular interest in seed and venture-stage start-ups in fintech, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and eHealth or Healthtech. The fund markets itself as a people-focused, global fund that partners with entrepreneurs to turn ideas into international businesses. Previously, it worked with numerous London unicorns (Deliveroo, FarFetch, Funding Circle, Wise, Revolut) and has an impressive number of its investee companies have also carried out successful IPOs. Since 2011, Index Ventures has backed at least 64 companies in London, through 126 individual equity fundraisings.

6. LocalGlobe

LocalGlobe is run by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein. It focuses on London-based founders, typically of early-stage tech start-ups, most commonly investing in SaaS and artificial intelligence (AI) companies. The fund was launched in 2016 and since then is an incredibly active investor in London’s start-up space. It has backed 69 companies, across at least 104 equity funding rounds. 

7. Passion Capital

Passion Capital is an early-stage VC which looks to invest in digital media, software and e-commerce companies. The fund originally invested between £150k and £200k, but it has since made a wider range of deals.

The fund was founded in 2011, and made at least 101 equity investments into London’s high-growth ecosystem, supporting 50 ambitious tech start-ups in the city. Their portfolio includes Monzo, GoCardless, proptech Nested, mental wellbeing start-up Spill, and insurtech unicorn Marshmallow.

8. BGF

BGF (formerly Business Growth Fund) has a strong success rate, with more than 150 exits by its portfolio companies. The fund invests in SMEs across all sectors and regions of the UK and Ireland, with average initial investment of £3.5m, and a significant follow-on funding as required, in exchange for between 10% and 40% equity share of the company. 

BGF has backed 72 ambitious companies based in London, through at least 95 equity funding rounds. Alongside growth finance, the fund offers access to a global network of experts and other investors, and support with strengthening boards, succession planning, and exit strategies. 

BGF is much more active than the other funds on this list outside of London, with offices around the UK and it is also an investor in established, profitable businesses looking for growth capital. BGF is the most active investor in Europe and the most active growth capital investor in the world, having invested $3.5 billion in more than 500 companies since 2011, and generating £2 billion in proceeds from exits.

9. MMC Ventures

MMC Ventures focuses on transformative technology companies, (predominantly in the UK) and helps to scale these businesses, typically investing in Series A, although the fund can also invest from pre-seed and support companies to later-stage. 

The fund is very active in London, having backed 51 companies in the city, across at least 91 equity fundraisings since 2011. In 2019, it launched a new £52m seed fund to support small businesses in the capital, as part of the Greater London Investment Fund.

10. Balderton Capital

Balderton Capital is focused on backing European-founded tech companies with global ambitions. It was launched over two decades ago, worked with more than 200 founders and raised over $3bn to invest in their start-ups. The fund typically invests in the early stages of a company’s growth, between $1m and $20m, and continuing to support them from a start to an exit. 

Since 2011, Balderton Capital has backed 41 high-growth companies based in London, through at least 84 equity funding rounds. Its portfolio is impressive, with big names including Revolut, ComplyAdvantage, Depop, Citymapper, and GoCardless.

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