Octopus Ventures has a clear mission: to be the preferred venture capital house of the most talented entrepreneurs. We try to be as straight-talking and helpful as possible so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions not answered below.
We look for chief executives who wish to make a significant, positive impact on the world. We have a track record of acting boldly and backing founders from the earliest stages of company formation and with evergreen funds we can follow our investment with additional funding rounds as the business grows. Ultimately, we are looking for unusually talented entrepreneurs intent on building big businesses.
We are comfortable investing across a range of sectors. Indeed, some of the most successful businesses we have backed have started in one sector and operated across numerous others, which makes them hard to define. Having said that, we now have considerable experience in scaling technology-enabled businesses, so the majority of the companies we back will be tech-enabled.
We have no minimum investment. However, over the last couple of years, the smallest investment we made was £350,000 and the largest was £25 million. Where appropriate, we will start investing at a seed stage with less than £1 million but, typically, our first investment tends to be between £2–5 million for series A deals – those ventures receiving their first round of financing after seed capital – and £5–15 million for series B. Our intention is to then follow our investments, and continue supporting the entrepreneurs we’ve backed, for years to come.
A slide deck or executive summary is sufficient in the first instance, as long as you are happy that it gives a reasonable overview of the team, the business model, the competition and the market opportunity.
For the majority of companies we’ll be an active participant on the board but often the real value add comes from the hundreds of interactions that occur outside the board room as you use us as a sounding board and partner whilst going through the roller coaster ride of scaling a business.
With an office in New York and a Venture Partner in San Francisco, we are also well placed to help companies scope, test and enter this market. See our resources page for a series of insights on this specific topic.
We have over 100 Venture Partners – a group of investors, entrepreneurs and global experts who help our portfolio companies with connections, advice and sometimes even more hands-on support. The group includes the founders of LOVEFiLM, Innocent, Betfair and Zoopla Property Group, as well as the managing directors of companies as wide ranging as Google, Orange and KKR.
Our most active Venture Partners (Marvin, Stephen, Ian, Chris and Pete) are constantly engaged with a large number of the companies in the portfolio and able to provide deep insight and practical support in everything from sales strategy to international expansion. We have also backed over 50 talented founders in our portfolio and we encourage this group to share and learn from each other’s expertise and experience through our events, e-mail threads and one-to-one connections to portfolio companies.
Octopus also provides support around employment, recruitment, research and development, public relations and lobbying. We know that the needs of each start-up are different and that these needs will evolve over time.
Many of us understand first-hand how difficult it is to build a business, so we’ll be there when entrepreneurs need us – and get out of the way when they don’t. We’ve always said that the best test of an investor is whether an entrepreneur wants to work with them again. And in that regard, Octopus has a track record of backing serial entrepreneurs again and again – which includes those referred to us by our portfolio.
Our investment team is based in London and we invest throughout Europe.
We aim to get back to you with initial feedback within a week.
Following the initial feedback, if we believe there is a good chance that Octopus will be a relevant and valuable investment partner to your business, we are likely to invite you in to our offices, to discuss your business in more detail and to introduce ourselves.
The next step requires one of our team to champion your business and make the case for why we should consider the investment. This is set in a wider context of other businesses seeking funding, the existing portfolio, our views on the market potential, and so on.
We are keen to find the best talent possible to support our portfolio and to help us with due diligence – for instance, when reviewing new businesses. Please send your CV or a bio to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.