Mark Adair

Concept Ventures raises £50m fund to back UK start-ups

Concept Ventures (Concept), formerly known as RLC Ventures, has launched an oversubscribed £50m pre-seed fund (the Fund), including a £30m cornerstone commitment from the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme to close the ever-increasing funding gap at pre-seed and create the largest, dedicated pre-seed fund in the UK.

Reece Chowdhry, founder and general partner of Concept Ventures, comments: “We are looking forward to making more personality-led investments in companies transforming how we work, play and learn, and doing so under our new name - Concept Ventures.”

Launched in 2018, Concept has recorded a string of impressive early successes. To-date, the team has backed 100+ founders at the pre-seed stage, with Concept backed-founders seeing a 71 per cent graduation rate from pre-seed onward (twice as high as the industry average). With 2 exits within the last two years (including Cliff.ai which was acquired by Gtmhub in June), prior funds are displaying strong returns.

With the recent surge of US funds expanding to the UK and an increased blurring of stage-discipline from multi-stage VCs, many firms are writing optionality cheques; creating a market which is leaving founders struggling to deal with signalling risk, confusing processes and a lack of clarity on which firms they should partner with.

Concept Ventures will bring clarity back to the pre-seed stage with this dedicated, founder-first Fund. Concept Ventures will invest in pre-seed stage founders reshaping how we “work, play, and learn”, writing cheques from £100K up to £600K and offering founders the flexibility to shape or join their rounds.

The Fund’s LP base consists of 80 per cent ethnic minorities and 18 per cent women, and over 70 per cent of the Fund’s LP’s are current or exited founders, collectively responsible for a combined £2bn in enterprise value. These include Ahluwalia Family Office, Y-Combinator backed founders such as Henry De Zoete, and senior global technology executives.

The fund is also deeply committed to running a values-led organisation and pledges 1 per cent of the total carry pool to charities of a founder’s choosing. Following a successful exit last year, Concept funded a school in India, providing education for over 300 children per year.

Ken Cooper, managing director, Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, comments: “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.”

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