SuperSeed launches £50m fund to back early-stage technical founders
SuperSeed, a venture capital firm investing in the future of business automation, today announces it has completed the first closing of its new fund at £31m, targeting a final close of £50m. The fund will invest between £500k and £1.5m into 30-35 UK based startups, and those looking to use the UK as a springboard to the rest of the world.
Europe continues to develop world class technology and the European startup ecosystem has exploded over the last decade. However, far too often, European startups are outfought by their American counterparts and the venture ecosystem needs to do more to support them.
This was why SuperSeed was conceived. The founders believe that startups are the primary engine of positive change, and with venture capital supplying the fuel, European venture capital firms can and should play a much more supportive role at the delicate early stages.
The opportunity for smart business transformation is bigger than ever. Recent research from McKinsey shows that 66% of large companies are piloting new automation processes, and WEF found that 80% of business leaders are considering ‘speeding up’ their automation processes following the pandemic.
Mads Jensen, founder and managing partner at SuperSeed, says: “Technological innovation is the foundation to unlocking human progress. In simple terms – tech will save us! But real tangible effect can only be achieved when it’s commercially viable and successfully deployed, in the hands of real users. When it comes to marketing and sales the Americans have historically had an edge on us here in Europe, and we have to do better if we want to compete on the world stage.
“At SuperSeed we play a highly active role helping early-stage founders create powerful go-to-market strategies. We provide best practice on how to build a successful B2B startup and work with founders to build out their team, craft processes, and truly accelerate the journey from Seed to Series A.”
Dan Bowyer, founder and partner at SuperSeed says: “I have quite a lofty take on what automation really is. To me it’s the technological bedrock that will enable us to keep the promises we’ve made to the climate, our planet and children. On the surface it helps businesses lower costs and create efficiencies, great, that’s a massive tick. But underneath it’s a lot more than that.
“So our thinking when we started the fund was – how do we enable as many smart startups as possible to make it AND have a meaningful impact?
“It’s well known that most startups fail, which is mostly due to a lack of product-market fit. In other words, to succeed, it’s imperative to find and focus on the right customers, while filtering out faster horses. All the while avoiding the natural tendency to get sucked into polishing the product, thinking if it’s better, they will come. As entrepreneurs we’ve experienced the allure!
“How best can you achieve that? Our experience as founders is that the process of selling is crucial to finding and expediting product-market fit. This is what Mads and I learned the hard way and want to pay forwards. In simple terms: “sales solve all problems”.”
SuperSeed’s partners both share the view that there is a multi-decade long opportunity to help companies automate business and manufacturing processes, which are often unnecessarily inefficient.
Mads Jensen says, “In business and especially manufacturing, there’s so much that automation can improve. Which is why we expect it to be one of the biggest long term economic trends, even without the natural accelerant of a pandemic. Software lies at the heart of this opportunity. Across manufacturers, aside from the most sophisticated like Boeing and Rolls Royce, around 80 percent of manufacturing equipment is still not ‘smart’, or connected to the internet.”
In the future, every sector in the global economy will be touched by automation but it’s in this particular area, Jensen says, that one of the biggest opportunities to combat climate change can be amplified:
“It’s easy to miss how crucial business automation is to solving some of the biggest challenges humanity faces. We are not going to stop consuming but must be much more mindful about how we do so. Automation opens up huge sustainability opportunities: from the application of smarter materials to the way we reuse and recycle post consumption. From picking and packing to putting on the table. From hiring to managing to paying, or finding to buying to delivering. I could go on and on but the fundamental challenge is how we bring global communities up to the Western standard of living without destroying the planet. We must therefore be much more efficient in the way we make, distribute and recycle things – automation is the only answer.”
Ken Cooper, managing director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank says, “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. Our cornerstone commitment to SuperSeed’s fund will help them to provide successful finance and support to early stage, high-potential entrepreneurs and businesses. With this commitment, our total commitments to date through the ECF programme now exceed £1 billion.”
Andrew Thomas, founder and CEO of SuperSeed portfolio company Kleene says, “SuperSeed stood out to us for their drive and passion for our space. We’ve found their support to be invaluable, providing a robust and intelligent input to strategy based on their deep experience of how to build SaaS companies.”
Daghan Cam, founder and CEO of SuperSeed portfolio company Ai Build says: “Having SuperSeed as our lead investor was a game changer for Ai Build. Their team truly understands the challenges faced by first time technical founders, and they are always there to help us overcome setbacks and figure out how to progress faster. We consider them an invaluable part of our team.”
Amy Read, CEO and co-founder at SuperSeed portfolio company Techsembly says: “From the first call I had with SuperSeed, I knew they were the VC I wanted to work with. Straightforward, down to earth honest advice and support. With SuperSeed there is no gender bias, they value you for who you are and what they believe you can deliver.. I know they’re always at the end of the phone if there’s anything I need, and most importantly that they have my back.”
Since its first fund launched in 2019, Superseed has invested in a total of 15 companies including AI Build, Integrated Finance, Kleene and Duel.