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I am delighted to welcome Rob Moffat, Partner at Balderton Capital to dive into the topic of Venture Capital and Fintech. As I aim to present London Fintech in the round I have been – for a long time – keeping my eye open for a friendly VC to have on the show. This has taken two years would you believe!
Viewed from Mars you might think this is curious given how the whole mainstream tech media is so focused on fund-raisings, so-called valuations (and fantasy animals with one horn), and the whole machismo around money.
Viewed not from Mars the VC sector globally is perhaps rather problematic. If this is a surprise to you then I recommend as an entry point Diane Mulcahy’s 2014 Harvard Business Review article Venture Capitalists get well paid to lose money. As a former VC she knows where to direct the fire – high fees, illiquidity and underperformance. As I recall in the greatest tech boom ever, in the US the aggregate stats are something like that the average VC hasn’t even returned to the investors the funds they raised, let alone got a carry cheque (the performance related fee).
Furthermore as we heard way back in LFP008 with Richard Goold the UK/European venture capital market was very thin indeed in most of the 20th Century (post-WW2 the UK basically had the (originally government) 3i as the only player for a long time) and returns were poor.
Set against this virtually every Fintech that scales needs VC money – without which there would be no boom at all.
Equally like in all industries there are always some good players with a reputation for adding value. It was such a lead that led me to Balderton Capital who are one of the real players in the London Fintech scene.
Rob also writes a lot on the industry – I recommend his blog – and is on the board of seven of Balderton’s investments, the best-known of which in UK Fintech are perhaps GoCardless and Nutmeg. Balderton invests around £20m per annum into Fintech.
Above and beyond this Rob is – finally – someone who is happy to talk on air about the reality of VC and Fintech. As he joined the firm in 2009 (from Google) he has experienced the Fintech world from roots through shoots and now into a rather varied garden.
There is more than plenty discussed on the show, key topics include: Continue reading