Ada Ventures launches second fund following first close of €41 million to back overlooked founders and markets #StartUps - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ada Ventures launches second fund following first close of €41 million to back overlooked founders and markets #StartUps


Today, London-based Ada Ventures has just launched its second fund after the first close of €41 million. The VC firm is on a mission to back innovators with breakthrough ideas, supporting those ideas that are too often overlooked and underfunded but bringing about impactful change.

Europe’s VC landscape continues to evolve and whilst there might be a growing undercurrent of hesitancy, we are still happy to see positive updates and new funds being released. In the latest update, Ada Ventures has launched its second fund to focus on breakthrough ideas and support Europe innovation at its crucial early stage of development. 

“Ada Ventures takes its name – and inspiration – from the mathematician Ada Lovelace, who worked on the first computer, but wasn’t recognised for her contributions until 100 years later. Like Ada, we are looking for bright minds, who can bring their visionary thinking to solve the biggest problems of our age.” 

The fund 

Ada Ventures’ Fund II has reached a first close of about €41 million (£36 million). It’ll be used to fund early-stage entrepreneurs who are solving some of society’s biggest problems, with a special focus on the climate, healthcare and ageing, and economic empowerment. 

The investors in Ada Venture Fund II include a cornerstone commitment from the British Business Bank through its Enterprise Capital Funds programme, Plexo Capital, the University of Edinburgh, and a raft of successful entrepreneurs and investors including Taavet+Sten and the Supercell co-founders. 

Established in 2006, the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme aims to increase the supply of equity capital to high-potential, early-stage UK companies by supporting new and emerging VC fund managers who target the early-stage equity gap.

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is key in helping to develop and maintain effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting under-served areas of the market. The programme currently invests in more than 39 funds with over £1.8bn of finance, supporting more than 700 businesses. Following our commitment to Fund I in 2019, we are pleased to make a cornerstone commitment to Ada’s second Fund to help Ada invest in a diverse range of businesses and founders.’’

Backing bold business builders

Based in London, Ada Ventures supports ambitious founders at an early-stage, typically with a first investment of about £500k. The firm takes a unique approach – committed to making VC accessible to the entrepreneurial talent that is often overlooked and underfunded, aiming to support breakthrough and game-changing ideas. 

Founded by Check Warner and Matt Penneycard, the firm bets on over 20 years of combined experience in venture capital investing. 

Check Warner commented: “Reaching this milestone of a second fund, backed by some of the biggest names in global venture and now having £84m under management follows on from the success of our first fund. Investors have seen how we source deals and how we find breakthrough companies making a positive societal impact. They can see our approach works. Not only have we opened opportunities for extraordinary founders, but we have also shown that a more diverse deal flow leads to exceptional returns.” 

Ada Ventures’ successful Fund II fundraise is a reflection of strong performance in Fund I. Overall, Ada’s Fund I has invested in 28 companies, including Huboo, Organize, MOONHUB, SideQuest and Spill. Huboo in particular has grown to scale at impressive speed, most recently raising a £60 million Series B investment. Ada’s Fund I portfolio has raised an aggregate of £100 million in additional investment, from firms including Mubadala, GV and Index Ventures. Fund I also stands out as one of Europe’s most diverse portfolios, with approximately 55% female founders and 30% ethnic minority founders. 

Check added: “For all the innovation in the industry, there is nowhere near enough innovation in VC. We are delighted to launch Fund II, as it demonstrates that our unique and original deal-sourcing system works. When we were building Fund I, we knew we needed to depart from the traditional way of sourcing-deals. So, we tore up the rulebook, and deployed Scout and Angels programmes, which revolutionized our own deal sourcing, and led to us meeting founders we would not have seen. We are constantly working to improve our deal-sourcing programmes and methodology, but we are proud to say that it is fairer, it works towards creating fairer access to VC funding, and it leads to phenomenal returns. It works, and it’s great to see the LP community recognising that.”

Penneycard added: “We have intentionally built Ada Ventures so that it is accessible to everyone, and anyone – wherever they are – can be involved in the process of venture capital without needing to rely on an existing network of contacts. Everyone and their ideas are welcomed at Ada Ventures. This approach has proven to be beneficial for the companies in our portfolio, and for investors.”

Ada’s Angels and Scouts

Since its conception, Ada has taken a unique approach to investment and sourcing deal flow, harnessing a scout network to uncover the hidden talent capable of building the next generation of global companies. 

There are 100 Ada Scouts – most are active within under-represented communities – who are sourcing opportunities and identifying visionary founders that need access to capital. This approach has successfully removed the need for a ‘warm introduction’, through previously established connections, which has been a hurdle for under-represented founders in accessing funding. 

Should Ada Ventures invest in a company introduced by a scout, the scout is compensated with both an upfront fee, and a share of carried interest that the startup generates for the fund. In its first fund, nine of the 28 investments came through this scout network. In recent months, the reach of the Ada Scouts has been growing with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community, disabled entrepreneurs, and regions outside London. 

Ada Ventures also launched Ada’s Angels in October 2020, which was a project that sought to bring more diverse people into angel investing. The programme identified five individuals from the Ada Scout network with direct experience in under-represented communities, who were given £50k to make five investments of £10k. 

Since launch, the cohort has made 22 angel investments, 6 of which then raised funding from Ada Ventures. All 6 of these companies are founded by entrepreneurs from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in tech and VC. Ada will launch Ada’s Angels’ second cohort at AdaCon. Ada’s Angels second cohort will be more than double the size of the first and select angels from across the whole of the UK. 

So far, Ada Ventures has sourced nine companies through its scout network. These include SPOKE, Bubble, Sproutl, Flexa and MOONHUB. Ada Ventures’ scout programme opens for applications twice a year.

Speaking about working with Ada Ventures, Dami Hastrup, Founder and CEO of MOONHUB, said: “Our experience with Ada has been great, and we have particularly benefited from the scout program and Ada’s Angels. We worked with David Fasiyo — he understood our value proposition very quickly, and made the call to Matt, and the rest of history! The process was swift, and transparent, and we’re delighted to be working with the Ada team!”

Speaking about Ada’s scout programme, Pia Horbacki, Enterprise Manager, Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, said: “As part of the Behavioural Insights Exchange at UCL, students complete their Masters research project with an external organization. BIX is a win-win initiative: students do a project that has real-world impact and gain valuable skills, while our partner organizations benefit from access to UCL’s top-caliber students, who deliver tailored, data-driven insights. In this case, Izzy Soper worked with Ada Ventures to understand how increasing the diversity of venture capital scouts influences the decision making associated with recommending founders to pitch to investors. It was found that, to a certain extent, VC scouts are more likely to recommend founders that share the same gender or ethnicity, thus showing that Ada Ventures’ endeavor to increase the diversity of investments using scouts has been successful”

- Advertisement -


October 4, 2022 at 03:35AM by (Patricia Allen), Khareem Sudlow