London-based Ada Ventures closes £37M fund to back overlooked founders in underserved markets

Ada Venture Image credits: Ada Venture

Back in December 2019, Ada Ventures launched a $34 million (approx £25.2 million) fund, aiming to invest in overlooked founders and overlooked markets. And today, the London-based VC closed its first fund at $50 million (approx £37.1 million), following new investment from Big Society Capital and several funds and individuals.

Ada Ventures is a first-cheque seed fund and is on a mission to make venture capital truly accessible to the best talent in the UK & Europe, regardless of race, gender, or background.

Invested in 8 seed companies in 2020

In 2020, Ada invested in eight seed-stage companies, which tackle issues including mental health, obesity, workers’ rights, and affordable childcare. Four of the eight companies have a female CEO. This brings the total portfolio size to 17, including the ‘pre-fund’ portfolio.

Portfolio progress

Talking about portfolio progress, Huboo Technologies raised a £14 million Series A, which was led by Stride VC and Hearst Ventures. Additionally, portfolio company Bubble delivered tens of thousands of hours of free childcare to NHS staff; and Organise grew their members from 70,000 to more than 900,000, and successfully campaigned for the government to provide support for the self-employed during Covid-19.

First-of-its-kind angel programme

Further, On Ada Lovelace Day in October, Ada Ventures launched its angel programme, enabling five new angel investors to write their first cheques as angel investors. Also, it has worked with 58 scouts, and this has resulted in around 10% of deal flow coming from scouts, with two investments now made across the portfolio that were scout sourced.

To reiterate, Ada Ventures deploys a team of Scouts, a growing network of ‘Ada Scouts’ who are positioned and incentivised to bring excellent opportunities, in line with the firm’s investment strategy, to the table.

Ada Ventures in 2021

In 2021, Ada will continue to grow its network of Ada Scouts across the UK, with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community, disabled entrepreneurs, and regions outside of London

Francesca Warner, founding partner, Ada Ventures, comments: “When we launched we couldn’t have predicted the seismic changes and tragedy brought on by Covid-19, or the social dislocation precipitated by the killing of George Floyd. Despite these challenging circumstances, we’re proud to have been able to execute our strategy of investing in bold ideas from exceptional, overlooked founders.”

Joe Shamash, Investment Director at Big Society Capital, who led the Ada Ventures investment, comments: “Our mission at Big Society Capital is to change the way investment flows to support organisations that improve lives – and thinking about equality, diversity, and inclusion is fundamental if we are to succeed. We believe Ada’s focus on engaging more diverse founders to solve problems for underserved communities is vital to create the change we hope to see in the investment market.”

Ken Cooper, Managing Director, Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, said: “Our Enterprise Capital Fund programme has a track record of successfully backing first-time fund managers like Ada Ventures, our 30th fund in the programme. Our cornerstone support has helped unlock extra capital from other investors which will allow Ada Ventures to back more overlooked founders in underserved markets and we are looking forward to working with the team as they build on this great start.”