2016 was a damp squib in so many ways, for reasons we hardly need to go into here. But despite some reports to the contrary, tech, and more specifically investing in early stage, London based tech startups flourished last year, insists the CEO of one of the UK’s most prolific early stage tech investors.
Martijn de Wever, the ex-investment banker turned CEO of Force Over Mass, the FCA regulated investment vehicle through which high net worth’s can invest into emerging tech startup companies, pushed back on the allegedly parlous state of investment into UK tech over the past year, at an event at FOMCap HQ at the end of last month.
Before unveiling 6 “super-exciting” FOMCap backed start-ups to present to a packed room full of VC’s angels, and potential angels, many from a city background, which is heartening to see (this could be one of the themes of 2017 – will high net worth bankers, lawyers and corporate employees finally “get” tech startups, and start making strategic, tax-efficient investments, like their employers have done?), De Wever scotched the myth that 2016 was a bad one for investing in tech, and predicted great things for 2017.
He was at pains to point out that London and the UK top many lists concerned with understanding tech investment and tech trends. Most investment attracted in Europe, largest number of deals, and crucially, the UK is the second biggest market for M&A activity in the world, behind only the US. 4 of the 5 largest AI tech startup acquisitions last year involved UK based companies.
“That is what we want as investors”, De Wever told a full conference room at Michelin House in Fulham, FOMCap’s HQ, whilst also observing that there is no evidence to suggest that Brexit has damaged UK startups as investable propositions in any way.
Force Over Mass are focused on seed to Series A rounds in companies with a focus on deep-tech, SaaS platforms, Fintech, and AI – a sector that was bubbling over throughout 2016 and FOMCap believe will explode in 2017, led by the emergence of technology such as Amazon Alexa and Google Now.
The fund’s diversified 45 company strong FOMCap portfolio is up 27.3%, according to De Wever.
Just as in 2016, FOMCap say they will meet with more than 1,200 startups this year – casting the net as wide as possible in an effort to secure the best early stage deals.
The firm say they have made 3 investments already this year, met 54 companies, and partnered up with 2 new startup accelerators and one corporate VC taking their deal flow provider network to north of 60 parties
In that spirit, we’ll be examining the 6 companies invited to present on Tuesday evening over the course of the next 6 days, publishing one profile each day. We’ll start with online marketing play Ometria, followed by Seenit, a ubiquitous crowdsourced media company, Epiphyte an FX settlement provider that is “faster than the banks”, children’s programming kit-maker Tech Will Save Us, Codec, a revolutionary content management platform, and finally, one for the future, specifically the future of AR/VR, Britain’s answer to Magic Leap, Curiscope.
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