Forward Partners, a London-based VC firm, has raised a £60 million fund to invest in UK pre-Seed and Seed-stage startups. The firm, established four years ago, has previously backed British startups including Lost My Name, AppearHere, Thread and Big Health.
Along with investing capital in startups, Forward Partners ensures its portfolio companies access to its team of marketers, recruiters, designers, and developers, in order to assist them to scale effectively and efficiently.
This becomes the firm’s second fund. It has previously raised £21 million to back emerging talent within the UK startup ecosystem. It is interesting to note that the new fund has a single unnamed LP. Described only as a “major institutional investor,” it is understood that unlike Forward Partners’ first fund, it isn’t Forward Internet Group itself. The new LP isn’t a part of the VC’s investment committee, either.
Nic Brisbourne, co-founder of Forward Partners, stressed that despite only having a single LP, the Forward Partners second fund will be a fully independent entity, managed by himself and Investment Partner Martyn Holman, and Product Partner Dharmesh Raithatha.
According to him, the fund’s closing is proof of the fact that Forward Partners’ model is working. This will witness the VC back companies at the earliest stages and, if needed, supporting them with a startup studio-styled operational team of nine people, consisting of marketers, recruiters, designers, and developers. However, since this is an extremely early-stage investor, it will take some time to observe whether the investment has really paid off. Holman commented:
The past four years have been an incredibly exciting time for both UK tech and for Forward Partners and we’re excited to continue our investment in London and the UK.
Back in January, Forward Partners participated in the $1.8 million late Seed round raised by online men’s fashion platform Spoke. In the same month, the firm also led the $1 million funding round raised by ClickMechanic, an online marketplace for car mechanics.
According to product partner Dharmesh Raithatha:
With our second fund, Forward Partners wants to help many more founders build startups that become world-leading success stories of the future, whilst continuing to support our existing portfolio of innovative businesses.
Brisbourne also said that the VC’s remit maintains its focus on e-commerce and marketplaces “in every vertical”, and not just what might be traditionally considered to fit those categories, such as travel. According to him, this enables the firm to take and apply common learnings, including customer acquisition and retention, across many sectors. Forward Partners is also said to be currently updating its investment thesis and should have more updates later in the year.