Kjartan Rist and Denis Shafranik discuss financing the likes of Airsorted and PayAsUGym, the improvement in quality of European entrepreneurs, and why it’s a great time for a scale-up to raise money.
Digital Risks secured its £2.25 million investment round. The round was led by Concentric, with participation from Atami Capital, Seedcamp, London Co-Investment Fund and Beazley.
Digital Risks, co-founded by Cameron Shearer and Ben Rose, is the digital-first insurance provider for fast-growth technology and media businesses.
PUBLIC is delighted to be backing the founding team of Panopticon, including Sir Mark Rowley, in building this important new venture. The government is actively looking for new, ethical and tech savvy partners in the security and criminal justice sector – and Panopticon is ideally placed to become the most innovative company in the market.
Digital Risks, the digital-first broker for fast-growth technology and media businesses, has won the Insurance Start-up category at the British Insurance Awards. The insurtech start-up was recognised for its innovative range of covers, online customer experience and flexible subscription model.
Concentric and Black Pearls VC led the latest Insly’s €2.2 million round.
Kjartan Rist, Managing Partner of Concentric commented:
“We have been keeping an eye on the insurtech landscape for some time and it has been a challenge to find a company that has a long-term vision and an actual, proven value proposition. Insly has shown its capability to change the archaic insurance industry.”
Europe’s Seedcamp closes 4th fund at $81 million.
Founded in 2007, London-based Seedcamp has invested in more than 250 startups since its inception, including TransferWise, UiPath, and Revolut.
Seedcamp announced Fund IV back in November with an inaugural close of £41 million ($55 million), but it has now finalized the “heavily oversubscribed” fund at roughly 50 percent above the initial figure.
62% of Start-Ups Fail due to Founding Team Conflict
The human aspect of an investment is most important. It is well known that most start-ups will fail. It is less well known that most start-ups fail because of conflict between the founding team.
At Concentric, this has bothered us for some time. With unprecedented sums going into venture capital investments, we have been continually surprised to find little serious work on what makes a successful founder or founding team.
Last year we partnered with Karim Jalbout – head of Egon Zehnder’s European technology practice – to assemble a group of industry experts including founders, investors, recruiters and HR consultants.
The aim was to understand and find consensus from a range of perspectives on exactly what makes a founder ‘good’ and what practical tools are at our disposal to help us identify positive or negative traits during our investment due diligence process.
The case study is attached.
Huckletree Shoreditch bids farewell to the latest graduates of the Alpha Programme, a 12-week long intensive accelerator programme for startups at pre-seed stage. Each cohort benefits from relentless pitch practise, workshops led by industry superstars, real-time feedback from the community and exposure to talent, partners, clients and investors.
Airsorted has been named #10 of the UK’s hottest 100 startups.
The start-up has managed more than 3,800 homes to date and is already live in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Sydney, Brighton, Bristol, Brisbane, Auckland, Melbourne and Paris.
It’s planning on expanding to nine new cities this year, with a target of being open in 38 cities by 2019.
It’s now also diversified beyond short-lets, running flexible letting cycles of anything from two nights to 12-month tenancies.
Airsorted’s Series A exceeds £7 million. The company successfully secured more than £2.1 million additional funding through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Earlier in March, the London-based tech startup raised £5 million from investors including Concentric, Atami Capital, Maxfield Capital and Pi Labs.
PayAsUGym completes £6.5m Series A investment round lead by Albion Capital, alongside existing co-investor Concentric and individual angels. The investment will be used to build the team, further enhance the product, grow the gym network and overall user base.
According to COO and co-founder, Neil Harmsworth, the funding will be used to build the team and “further enhance the product” for both consumers and for participating gym operators.
“Over the past 24 months the fitness industry has really started to embrace new ways to reach new customers and PayAsUGym has become a leading platform in that respect,”
Concentric participated in the Frontier Car Group’s Series B investment round.
Frontier Car Group, a Berlin, Germany-based used car marketplace targeted at countries outside of Western Europe and North America, raised $58m in Series B funding.
Alongside SNÖ Ventures & NOTWICS, Concentric co-hosted the 3rd Oslo Technology Excursion. It is a testament to the growing quality of the Norwegian tech landscape that the quality of the company pitches have improved massively over the last few years and the knowledge and level of discussions between the panellists were at a significantly higher level. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the event and we are looking forward to seeing you all next year.
Following the great feedback received after our joint event with Christian af Jochnick that took place in Stockholm September 2017, Concentric continued a series of intimate investor gatherings. Gstaad Snow Summit was co-hosted with Patrick Aisher and his firm Kinled. Kinled has been a close partner of Concentric since our first fund close and are active in both digital and life sciences technology sectors.
Concentric – the end of the beginning….
As the year 2018 commenced we carried out a formal close of Concentric 1. In so doing we felt it opportune to share some of our thoughts regarding the industry, our model and the entrepreneurs we back.
As an asset class, venture capital is terribly hard to get right. One must deal with an array of issues and challenges as part of a daily routine with portfolio companies that are perennially a “work-in-progress”. But, when you are dealing with exceptionally talented, unrelenting entrepreneurs and the opportunity to be an integral part of their journey, there are few more rewarding and exciting places to be. At Concentric we feel fortunate having been able to launch our first fund during such a fruitful time for the European venture capital industry, where the technological frontier is being pushed back every day by a new generation of entrepreneurs.
In the shoes of an entrepreneur
At Concentric we have deep respect for entrepreneurs who take personal risks and invest to build the next generation of category-leading businesses. The ability to balance long-term vision with short-term survival can often be overwhelming. Indeed, we have been on that emotional rollercoaster ourselves these past few years founding and building Concentric. The plethora of tasks and challenges we have faced have taught us first-hand about being an entrepreneur and the trials and tribulations a founding team must go through to succeed. Our mission is, and continues to be, to establish Concentric as a leading brand in the European venture capital market.
Creating value through being supportive and pro-active
As investors we rely predominantly on the entrepreneurs to make a business successful. That said, we are there to assist, facilitate and fund the journey of the founding team and aim to add value through pro-active support and focus. We hope these principles will further establish our name and that future talented entrepreneurs will naturally gravitate towards Concentric as they seek to build out their businesses.
Rapid societal, economic and technological change are front of mind
As investors we know it’s essential to stay intellectually curious and honest and to not allow complacency or arrogance to creep in – we need to keep the fire in the belly and dare to be different! With all the challenges facing society through a rapidly evolving technological landscape, particularly in the context of increasing monetary and socio-economic volatility, this becomes increasingly important. These observations are reflected in the type of deals we will be pursuing going forward.
Collaborative model reflected through global partnerships
Venture capital is hard, but we feel the timing is right. Technology is becoming an integral part of any industry, European entrepreneurship is at its peak and we are experiencing a second wave of Entrepreneurs; a young generation of hungry and talented founders inspired by what the future could bring. We have been joined by a dozen global families on the journey, families that are keen on venture capital and see the value in a partnership structure with aligned incentives. Some of our capital partners may not have the internal infrastructure or experience to support a demanding venture portfolio, but are keen to share with us their global industrial networks and skills. These relationships exemplify the collaborative model Concentric is looking to expand even further and we are grateful to our early supporters. Collaboration is at the core of our working philosophy and this is also why we have decided to be transparent about our structure and incentives towards stakeholders and broader ecosystem partners. Going forward we aim to continue to innovate on how venture capital funds operate and are structured to achieve an ever-greater alignment of interest while maintaining flexibility of capital deployment.
Exciting portfolio being carefully nurtured
Since we started investing in 2013 we have assembled a portfolio of 16 exciting companies with a number maturing to occupy leading positions in their respective verticals. To source, execute and manage these we have assembled an experienced and hungry investment team and an advisory council that will enable us to catapult the portfolio to the next level whilst adding new portfolio companies throughout 2018. We are proud that all our team members and advisors invested personally into Concentric or will share in the carry economics. We look forward to growing professionally and as individuals alongside our portfolio companies – learning from each other and sharing the economic rewards in an equitable manner.
The first of many chapters
This is just the beginning of our journey and we feel we have put into place the building blocks to enable Concentric itself to prosper as well as play an integral role in the growth of the European venture community.
Concentric participated in the Public.io’s latest investment round.
Public helps technology startups transform public services, providing capital, networks, insight and support. Led by ex-deputy head of the No.10 policy unit, Daniel Korski, and venture investor, Alexander de Carvalho, Public’s team has operational experience of government, startups, technology and finance, to help startups do business successfully with the public sector.
In March 2017, Public launched applications to GovStart, a growth programme based in London to get startups ready for the public sector, and help them through the sales cycle. Pockit, a Concentric portfolio company, is part of the first GovStart cohort.
Co-working space startup Huckletree has announced a funding round of £4.5m with investment manager Meyer Bergman. Huckletree joins the London-based real estate investment group’s portfolio alongside retail space marketplace Appear Here and app company POQ Commerce.
Gabriela Hersham, chief executive and founder of Huckletree, said the partnership with Meyer Bergman leaves the company “well positioned for 2018 and beyond”.
Huckletree has launched a new flagship space in Dublin. Huckletree D2 is a workspace and accelerator for startups and entrepreneurs based in the heart of Dublin’s tech hub. 400 members will be housed across 30,000 square feet of space including private studios, dedicated desks and hotdesks.
Huckletree is officially open in West London at White City.
Huckeltree’s first digital lifestyle workspace is based in the former BBC Media Centre and focuses on a curated community of media, fashion, gaming and VR-focused startups and entrepreneurs.
Check out the new location at https://www.huckletree.com/locations/west
Concentric closes a new investment into DueDil.
DueDil is a private company information platform that enables businesses to find opportunities and mitigate risks. DueDil provides authoritative data and rich context on over 40 million companies across 9 European countries.
Stockholm was the stage for the inaugural Family Office summit organised by Concentric and the af Jochnick Family. The purpose was to bring together likeminded, entrepreneurial family offices from around the world and build relationships to the advantage of all.
Hypaship, the leading provider of Delivery Management Software (DMS) and Carrier Operating Software (COS) have secured an additional £1m investment led by Concentric.
The investment will ensure HypaShip continues to provide the most comprehensive full- featured software in its current markets, while also funding expansion into new geographical areas.
Prettysocial media (PSM) completed a new financing round led by Funke Media.
Based in Berlin, Funke Media is one of the leading German publishing houses, with a particular focus
Funke took a stake of 25,1% with a goal to expand its strategic relationship with PSM.
For more information, please visit: http://www.prettysocialmedia.com/pressrelease-funke
The London Co-investment Fund (LCIF) – the Mayor of London’s early stage business fund – has selected five new co-investment partners to join its existing Tech Fund.
We are delighted to announce that Concentric is one of five managers selected to be a partner of the London Co-Investment Fund. Concentric will co-invest with existing partners in cutting-edge tech start-ups – specialising in areas such as fintech, AI and big data – who are based in London and ready to accelerate their growth.
Since LCIF was launched in 2015, it has invested £14 million into 88 tech companies, which have attracted more than £98 million in external funding from its co-investment partners. LCIF has created more than 600 new jobs and safeguarded a further 250.
“Collaboration is at the centre of Concentric’ thinking and investment philosophy, and we appreciate and value the work London Co-investment Fund is carrying out. Thus we are delighted to join the LCIF partner network to further enhance and grow the London ecosystem and to fund world-class technology companies” – Kjartan Rist, Managing Partner, Concentric.
More information on:
Pockit had been accepted into the inaugural cohort for GovStart, an initiative that offers a wide range of support to start-up companies trying to solve public sector problems like financial exclusion.
Organised by Concentric and ERMAK in collaboration with Forum.
A talk by David Wood – A true pioneer of the smartphone industry.
What Does Society Look Like When Technology Makes Us Redundant?
David Wood is co-founder of Symbian, the creator of the world’s first successful smartphone operating system which launched in 2008. Following, he and his teams wrote the software used in the world’s most iconic smartphones including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Fujitsu and Panasonic.
Now a full-time speaker, analyst and writer, David heads up London Futurists, a non-profit networking meet-up with approaching 6,000 members. He has chaired over 150 public events on techno progressive and futurist topics.
You’ll see his name on six books including ‘Anticipating 2025: A guide to the radical changes that may lie ahead, whether or not we’re ready’ and, most recently, ‘The Abolition of Aging’.
PayAsUGym won the innovation award for ‘Best Health & Fitness Innovation’ at the Elevate 2017 event. The award was granted for the launch of company’s ‘Monthly+ Pass’ initiative, which enables gym operators to tap into the fast-growing multi-club member market by listing their club within the PayAsUGym marketplace.
The Elevate Innovation Awards sponsored by Fitness Compared are a series of awards for the best products or services in certain categories.
Pockit closed £2.9 million round in further funding and will soon begin to provide a remittance service which will make the process of sending money abroad much easier. This May Pockit’s 150,000 customers will be able to send money to Poland and to Italy, the rest of the Eurozone countries will follow in June. Over the next few months, several countries outside Europe will also be connected, starting with Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.
Read the full story on:
The history of family offices – private wealth management vehicles established by high net worth families – has long been entwined with that of venture capital. Indeed, several leading VC firms, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Frog Capital and Atomico, have emerged from family offices, while many wealthy families have built their fortunes through entrepreneurship or by investing in (or managing) early-stage businesses, and thus have it in their blood.
With, according to some estimates, $4 trillion held in family offices globally today, the diversity of investors from the family space in VC is on the rise. Against a backdrop of intense media interest in the tech startup ecosystem more generally, and a younger, more tech-savvy generation taking over the running of many family offices from their parents, research from Concentric (my firm) last year uncovered a huge and growing appetite for VC among these funds.
Based on conversations with more than 300 family offices worldwide, we found that around 70 percent of those we spoke to are already actively investing in or evaluating exposure to tech VC. However, the majority of them are having a decidedly mixed experience of investing in the asset class and, perhaps still licking their wounds after earlier forays, remain unsure about how best to approach it.
This has grave consequences for Europe’s tech scene.
European VC has a well-documented and persistently large funding gap with the U.S., which threatens the continent’s medium-term viability as a startup hub. Despite Europe as a whole incorporating more tech companies than the U.S., possessing five of the top 10 computer science schools, and producing more developers, European startups receive just a fraction of the funding of their U.S. counterparts. Until this is remedied, Europe will continue to lag the U.S. as a producer of tech unicorns, not to mention global brands on the scale of Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Snap.
Along with large corporates (who are increasingly investing in and acquiring startups, as well as hothousing their own) across Europe, family offices – with a global average of $759 million in assets under management – must be a major part of the solution to plugging this gap.
From a VC and startups point of view, ramped up involvement of family offices is a no brainer. Nimbler and less bound by rigid processes, family office investors frequently have deep networks and the ability to open doors more effectively than institutional investors, while the capital required for VC investment is relatively small compared with the wealth many single or multiple family offices manage.
It makes perfect sense from the other side of the table too. Many family offices are in search of higher yields from their investments and are gravitating towards riskier products with better returns such as VC, which also offers the allure of potential (if statistically unlikely) blockbuster investments.
Furthermore, Concentric’s research indicates that the generation currently taking the helm at many family offices have an innate understanding of and affinity with tech startups and disruptive business models.
Clearly family offices cannot bridge Europe’s funding gap alone. Closing the gap will require a coalition of national and city governments, corporates, and institutional and angel investors alongside high net worth families. And for that to happen, we’ll need to see a shift in mindset towards VC generally in Europe, which is still perhaps two generations behind the U.S. on this front.
On the other side of the Atlantic, there is a greater propensity to take risks, a stance that pays off in the long run, because VC creates value over and above a specific investment. In the U.S. it is widely understood that talented but failed first-time entrepreneurs are simply success stories in waiting, who will be in a better position to succeed next time around. In some parts of Europe, by contrast, there lingers a stigma around failure, which impacts capital allocation.
But, slowly, as Europe’s tech startup boom continues, attitudes to risk are changing amongst both institutional and private investors. From our extensive conversations, there is unprecedented interest among family offices to invest in the next wave of European innovation and R&D, thereby increasing the volume of startups that reach escape velocity, as well as thrive at growth stage and beyond.
We are now at a critical juncture. If European tech’s momentum isn’t to fade away, we need family offices to punch their weight and allocate far more investment into VC. Without them, we will fall further behind not just the U.S. but other parts of the world, including Asia.
From a humble beginning in 2015, Airsorted has grown to the World’s largest Airbnb Management Business. This month Airsorted is passing its second birthday. James Jenkins-Yates, CEO and Founder is telling the whole story of the company’s success:
Pockit is invited to join Upscale 2017 and will receive mentoring from world class coaches.
Upscale is a six month programme developed to help the most promising early stage startups to begin their scaling journey. It includes curated workshops and mentoring sessions designed to speed up growth and address the most challenging barriers these companies can face.
Upscale is managed by Tech City UK, launched in 2010 by Prime Minister David Cameron and Internet Safety and Security Minister Joanna Shields.
More information on:
Neteven announces a new website, new release of its software, new clients, new functional and new marketplaces.
All information on:
Airsorted announces the closing of a circa £1.5 million investment led by Concentric.
Based in London and operating across three offices, Airsorted is a homestay management service that allows homeowners to maximize rental income from renting out their property on a short term basis.
Airsorted currently manages close to 1,000 properties throughout the UK and Ireland, making it the largest such service in Europe. The company’s proprietary technology allows it to automate substantial parts of the property letting, pricing, marketing and management aspects, ensuring homeowners achieve the optimal blend of rental yield and customer service.
The investment will enable Airsorted to further cement its position as product leader and expand to new markets.
More information on
Since its launch in 2014, Pockit has attracted more than 100,000 customers and services over £100m of client transactions.
Over the next year Pockit plans to continue its market-leading product innovation by launching direct customer account numbers and sort codes as well as remittance, direct debit and micro overdraft services in a bid to build UK’s first integrated online banking service offering.
More information in recent press coverage:
Concentric in partnership with Bloomberg are delighted to announce E-Wellness & Technology Trends 2016 panel discussion that took place on September 8, 2016 in London.
This event was organised to explore key aspects of how technology is changing consumer’s and industry participants’ behaviour in the wellness sector.
The panel featured speakers from the leading companies in fitness and wellness industry.
You can view video recording of the sessions here:
- Introduction and Keynote
- Millennials’ buying and consuming habits
- Utilising Big Data to monetise wellness
- Virtual reality and gamification taking off in cycling – is this the future of sports and fitness?
- Closing remarks
We hope you find it helpful and we look forward to seeing you at our next events and to keep the dialogue.
Concentric, the European technology venture partnership is happy to announce the first close of the ‘Concentric I’ fund.
Established in 2013 and with offices in London and Copenhagen, Concentric targets fast growing digital technology businesses across Europe, focusing on backing talented entrepreneurs building capital-efficient business models with the potential to establish global footprints. The Concentric portfolio currently comprises five investments: Pockit, PayasUgym, Neteven, Billetto and PrettySocial Media. Final close of the fund is expected during 2017.
Founding partners, Denis Shafranik and Kjartan Rist – formerly of Barclays and DN Capital respectively – have an established track record in investing, nurturing and exiting technology companies. They are joined by COO Mark McDonald, previously with DN Capital and TLcom.
Concentric’ key emphasis is on proactive collaboration with entrepreneurs and alignment of economic interests significantly favoring the fund’s capital partners – the latter goal illustrated by reduced management fees, a preferred return and carried interest structure which favor the capital parners, together with a substantial fund commitment Concentric’ management executed.
Capital alone is a commodity; the additional contributions offered by Concentric above and beyond pure capital are what differentiate it as a fund and enable its partners – whether entrepreneurs, founders or management teams – to benefit exponentially from advice and collaboration across business development, recruitment, marketing and product enhancement, strategy evolvement, follow-on funding and other key growth areas.
The European investment environment is developing fast. Concentric is building close partnerships with global family offices as principal capital partners and adopting a hands-on approach to investing and building companies, Concentric is looking to establish itself as a household name in the European venture marketplace.
‘How Cyber-attacks Steer the Course of International Politics’
For the second year Concentric and ERMAK co-hosted the regular Technology Forum. The speaker this year was Cathal McDaid, Chief Intelligence Officer at AdaptiveMobile.
Cathal discussed Geo-politics & Cyber Security, and how cyber-attacks steer the course of international politics. His bio is summarised below.
AdaptiveMobile is a privately owned mobile security company that works with 70 mobile operators around the world to protect the security of over 1.5 billion mobile phone users. Cathal is responsible for a global team dedicated to stopping cyber-attacks on mobile devices, as well as researching, uncovering and counteracting new threats. Cathal has over fifteen years’ experience in telecoms and security, has been interviewed by the BBC, Forbes, Bloomberg and USA Today, and has been a guest speaker at the world’s top security events.
Currently, he is leading the industry effort to secure the global mobile telecom infrastructure from newly-discovered critical vulnerabilities. Previously, he was Chairman of the GSM Association’s Mobile Malware Group. His academic background includes a BEng (University of Limerick) and an Executive MBA (INSEAD).
At Concentric we have ongoing discussions with family offices in relation to their venture exposure. Over the years it has become apparent that families are struggling with this particular ‘asset class’. Most families would like exposure to venture capital but are unsure in what form, or what such engagement could look like.
Denis Shafranik was invited to present Concentric findings on families’ approach to venture capital at the 3rd annual Global Family Office Conference in London.
Combined with some background facts on family offices, the purpose of the presentation was to surface some of Concentric’s key findings gathered as a result of discussions with 300+ family offices across the world. We also aim to use our findings to make predictions and to elaborate on key trends in family office venture capital investing.
The case study is attached.
In cooperation with Bloomberg, earlier in May Concentric organised an invite only Tech Excursion to Oslo and Copenhagen.
The Participants, mostly international venture investors, were able to get an insight into the start-up scene in the two countries, as there were 10 pitches in each of the cities.
In addition Concentric organised two panel debates where critical aspects such as investment frameworks, role models, culture, internationalisation etc. were discussed, with input from some of the leading local thought leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.
This note presents the overview of the event.
The Financial Inclusion summit, organised by Concentric in partnership with Bloomberg marks the second event in a series of events discussing and highlighting some of the most current topics across technology and business.
We decided to focus on financial inclusion, given the topic’s increasing prevalence in today’s world. To the untrained eye, financial inclusion might appear as a concept associated with the developing world, but it could not be further from the truth! Some of the facts and figures which we saw demonstrated that financial inclusion is indeed a world-wide problem. It’s a problem which should be addressed by both the public and the private sectors (and we indeed had participants from both sides of the fence) and one where technology, as an enabler, could be of great value.
Learning from our previous experience with the ecommerce event, we are also including links to the videos from the different sessions:
- Introduction & keynote
- The importance of financial inclusion
- Mobile and financial inclusion
- Financial inclusion products and delivery
- Closing remarks
This note presents the key findings and messages from the different panels, highlighting some of the unique insights we heard through the morning.
We hope you find it helpful and we look forward to seeing you at our next events and to keep the dialogue.
Concentric in collaboration with Bloomberg conducted its first seminar on cross-border eCommerce.
The core discussion panels were represented by leaders in their respective verticals: Alibaba, Global Fashion Group, Privalia, PrettySocial, Ebay, Neteven, Hybris, SAP, IBM, Currencies Direct, Worldfirst, Accenture, Temando, Docdata, B2CEurope and Arvato.
Presenters covered a wide range of topics including trans-continental trade, emerging trends in the global eCommerce sector, success stories from emerging markets, as well as outlook for the next 10 years.
Links to videos from the day’s sessions:
- Keynote: Growing Globally
- Panel I: Go Global
- Panel II: Raise the Operational Barriers
- Panel III: Choose the Best Logistic Solution
A summary transcript of the event can be found here: