23/10/2020 Ian Merricks

For tech entrepreneurs, raising venture capital (VC) funding is an important decision which can fuel growth ambitions quickly.  This decision often entails embarking on a difficult and time-consuming process, albeit one that plays a crucial part in scaling your business.  Whether you are exploring if VC funding may be the best next step or actively seeking this route, getting inside the VC mindset is essential as you make the step change from seed to Series A.  Navigating the VC landscape, learning what VCs are looking for, understanding which ones are the best fit for your business and perfecting your investor proposition is all part of The ScaleUp Accelerator’s intensive support provided for ambitious founders.  From making VC introductions to structuring and closing rounds, the programme draws on The Accelerator Network and partner White Horse Capital’s active relationships with hundreds of VCs and experience raising £350m+ in Series A and B funding.

Weekly ‘VC Voices’

To help founders get the investor’s perspective, the programme features weekly ‘VC Voice’ sessions, direct from the UK’s leading VCs. Notable names include Amadeus, the longest established VC in the UK, Calculus, Foresight, Guinness Asset Management, Maersk, Mercia, Octopus, and Smedvig have recently participated.  Each VC Voice session shares valuable insights and interaction on what they are looking for in investment prospects, and in particular, their perspective on specific and key weekly topics, such as team development or forecasting sales. The cohort come away with actionable tips to implement into their pitch decks and financial models, and strengthen their investor proposition.  The VCs point out what they would like to see more of and pitfalls to avoid, reflecting their experience reviewing countless pitches.  In addition to weekly VC Voice sessions, the programme brings together panel discussions highlighting the intricacies and differences of VCs, VCTs (Venture Capital Trusts) and family offices amongst other investor types.

Virtual Investor Event – VC Funds

After six intensive weeks, companies get the chance to pitch to the investors they met throughout the sessions – and many more!  40 VCs attended our virtual investor event, including Guinness Asset Management, Albion, Beringea, Calculus, Foresight, Mercia, Nauta, and Octopus. The switch to virtual has its perks! We’re able to track VC interest for each of the pitches which allows us to ensure an effective and immediate follow up.

Exposure to VCs and Preparation

Our alumni tell us the key to The ScaleUp Accelerator’s (78% raise) success derives from how the programme helps founders understand how investors think, perfecting their investor proposition and accessing our network of investors.  The rigour of the programme to ensure founders stay on top of their key documents such as pitch deck, business plan, financial model and due diligence is ‘sometime painful, but extremely helpful’ as mentioned by the founder of a cybersecurity scaleup that graduated the spring 2020 cohort. This is what enables investor discussions to move forward from the initial interest stage after the virtual pitch event to follow-on conversations.

The ScaleUp Accelerator’s 6 week sprints programme, is the prelude to the 6-12 months marathon which makes up the real journey needed to close a Series A round.  Our programme mentors and VC experts, Ian Merricks and Duncan Knight, aim to help founders cross that finish line as smoothly, quickly and successfully as possible to enter that next exciting chapter of scaleup growth!