Last month we profiled what we believe to be the 16 most interesting venture capitalists in the UK. Now we've decided to take a closer look at the investment funds they work for. 

The amount of money being invested into UK tech startups is rising year on year with the most recent figures suggesting that UK tech firms raised £1 billion in the first six months of 2015. 

Pile of money
©iStock

Here we've rounded up some of the biggest venture funds that startups can contact when they're looking to raise money in order to grow their businesses. 

We've spoken to the partners and investors at the venture capital houses to find out what they're looking for. If you wish to secure a deal with one of these firms we suggest you read these words carefully as they get thousands of startup pitches every year. 

The venture capital companies appear in no particular order. 

1. Octopus Investments 

How much do you have under management? 

Related

The Ventures team manages funds of £300 million with total funds under management for the whole of Octopus Investments is £5 billion. 

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

We invest across Europe wherever we find the talent and the right opportunity.

How much of this  are you investing in UK companies? 

Our venture funds are Pan-European with around two thirds currently going into UK-based businesses. 

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

£2.6 million. 

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

50.

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We back exceptional teams with the ambition to grow big businesses - our focus is on identifying entrepreneurs and fast growth companies that can scale explosively to create, transform or dominate an industry. We invest across a range of sectors including but not limited to software, hardware, financial technology, and consumer innovation.  

What stage do you invest at?

Early-stage, typically Series A to Series B. 

Where are your offices?

Holborn, London.

 

2. Lakestar

How much do you have under management? 

Lakestar II has €350 million under management, and follows on from Lakestar I, which has €135 million under management.

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

Lakestar's geographical focus will embrace both Europe and the US - there will be partner representation in key cities in both continents.

How much of this you're investing in UK companies?

Lakestar II is designed to be totally flexible, and has only recently launched. However, Lakestar I has invested in UK-based companies, including Algomi.

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

Lakestar II is a new fund, and is set up to allow a wide range of investments, from less than a million to tens of millions of Euros.

How many companies do you have in your portfolio?

Lakestar II is a new fund, and is not currently invested in any companies, but Lakestar I has around 20 companies in its portfolio.

What type of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

Rather than focus on a particular segment within the digital industries, Lakestar is looking across a wide range of sectors - however, a Lakestar portfolio company is likely to have the potential to disrupt in major markets, with founders who are passionate about transforming that market. 

What stage do you invest at? 

Due to the size of the fund, Lakestar can be somewhat "stage-agnostic", but tends to be focused on early stage investment in promising startups, and larger growth-stage investment, along with follow-on investments in later rounds of portfolio companies.

Wherea are your offices?

Lakestar's registered office is based in Guernsey, but also has offices in Berlin and Zurich, and Lakestar partners visit key cities in the UK and continental Europe and the US.

 

3. Passion Capital

Passion Partners: Stefan Glaenzer (left), Eileen Burbidge (centre) and Robert Dighero (right) ©Passion Capital

How much do you have under management? 

£86 million total (Fund I, Fund II and Focus FS [investment entity for Mondo]).

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

Fund I included 8 European company investments (out of 42); Fund II (£45 million has £10 million set aside for European investments; rest/most of the fund is principally for the benefit of the UK economy)

How much of this you're investing in UK companies?

Almost all principally for UK copmanies.

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

Average seed investment is less than £200,000. 

How many companies do you have in your portfolio?

47 companies to date.

What type of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We particularly like fintech, cyber security/infosec, edtech, health/medtech and any other sector.

What stage do you invest at? 

Seed.

Where are your offices? 

Clerkenwell Road, EC1 (east London).

 

4. Index Ventures 

How much do you have under management? 

$5.2 billion has been raised since the company was founded in 1996. 

How much of this are you investing in European companies? 

We invest across Europe and the US. Roughly one half of our current portfolio is in Europe. We are active in all of the major European tech hubs - Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, London.

How much of this are you investing in UK companies? 

Index loves London. We currently have 52 companies with an HQ in London and 100 companies have either an HQ or an office presence in the UK.

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

We invest from the very early stages in Seed and through all later stages of the company from A, B to growth. We've made 100+ Seed investments in the last five years. We make about 25 new venture and growth investments per year. We are very active across the board, investing in multiple stages, geographies and themes.

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

160 companies in 39 cities with 35,000 employees. 

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We love fearless entrepreneurs, who see building a transformational business as their destiny. We love teams who see opportunity where others just see obstacles. We love companies that challenge convention and break the rules …just a bit. Above all, we love building lifelong relationships with the entrepreneurs we back, which are based on trust, respect and a shared vision.

What stage do you invest at?

We are a multi stage investor, investing from earliest Seed through to explosive Growth.

Where are your offices?

We have offices in London (Mayfair), San Francisco and Geneva. We try to go where the best founders are, so we want to be easy to reach, active in the ecosystem and present in their markets. We have companies in 39 cities in 24 countries.

 

5. Balderton Capital 

Suranga Chandratillake is the founder and president of blinkx.com, an internet video search engine. He joined Balderton in 2014 ©Balderton Capital 

How much do you have under management? 

$2.3 billion.

How much of this are you investing in European companies? 

We focus entirely on backing European companies and European founders with a global vision.

How much of this are you investing in UK companies? 

Currently about 35 percent of the portfolio started in the UK but that’s not by design and, even in those cases, the entrepreneurs themselves are a diverse bunch.

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

Average cheque-size is $5 million - $8 million but we’ve made exceptions that are both a lot smaller and a lot larger than that before.

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

80 in the current portfolio - many others have, of course, already exited.

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We are sector-agnostic but founder-specific. We believe that incredible companies are built by incredible people, so that’s where we start.

What stage do you invest at?

Funding stages are increasingly meaningless in a world of continuous fund-raising but our $5-8M focus would traditionally have been labeled as ’Series A’.

Where are your offices?

We recently moved into our new HQ in Kings Cross, London.

 

6. Angel CoFund

How much do you have under management? 

£100 million.

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

The Angel CoFund is solely focussed on UK companies or companies with a UK head office. It ?works with partners across the business angel community, as well institutional and otherinvestors in the UK, to back high-growth British businesses.

How much of this  are you investing in UK companies? 

All of it! The CoFund has specific objectives around backing promising UK businesses - and helping develop the important business angel investment market in the UK. 

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

We?look to make initial equity?investments?of?between £100,000 and £1m alongside?angel investors and other co-investors, and have the capacity to commit more companies build and grow. In aggregate we set aside at least £1 for every £1 we invest in order to provide follow-on investment in later funding rounds.

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

We have backed 59 companies to date.

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

The fund is generalist by design, and naturally the portfolio splits roughly 1/3 life-sciences, 1/3 digital media and software and 1/3 everything else (cleantech, semiconductors, food & drink etc.). Life-sciences are thriving?at the moment,?driven by some strong macro trends around healthcare, and?the UK?is able to benefit from some of the best?universities in the world, which are leading?globally in med-tech development. But really our ideal investment is any high-potential fast-growth UK business, which has a strong team and a clear and credible plan to succeed.

What stage do you invest at?

We usually invest post seed level in small series A or pre-series A rounds, anything between £250,000 to £5 million round sizes where we are partnering with angel investors. 

Where are your offices?

The Angel CoFund has offices in both London and Sheffield.

 

7. Accel Partners 

Fred Destin, a partner based out of the firm's London office ©Accel 

How much do you have under management? 

Accel London has $2 billion under management. 

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

The Accel London team is currently investing in early and growth-stage technology companies in Europe and Israel from their Accel London IV fund, which is a $475 million fund. 

How much of this  are you investing in UK companies? 

There’s no limit to what we’re investing in UK companies, and to date the UK has been the most fertile geography for us. 

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

The average investment size is anywhere between $500,000 and $50 million.

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

Accel is on its fourth fund in London, and each fund to date has had 35-40 investments. 

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

Startups run by exceptional people in large markets they can dominate, with a particular focus on hyper-scalable models, including marketplaces, next-gen financial services, lightweight SaaS, as well as the enabling platform technologies for these businesses, such as mapping, search or analytics.

Accel has backed a number of iconic global platforms, which are powering new experiences for mobile consumers and the modern enterprise, including Atlassian, BlaBlaCar, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Funding Circle, Kayak, QlikTech, Simplivity, Slack, Spotify, Supercell, World Remit and others.

What stage do you invest at?

Accel invests at any stage. 

Where are your offices?

Mayfair. 

 

8. MMC Ventures

The full MMC Ventures team ©MMC Ventures 

How much do you have under management? 

£135 million.

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

Most of our portfolio is UK-based, but with European offices. 

How much of this  are you investing in UK companies? 

Our focus is on UK-based companies, with global ambition.  Most of our portfolio have their HQ in the UK but have offices all over the world including; New York, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, Palo Alto, Istanbul, São Paulo, Lisbon, Singapore etc.

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

Average £2-3 million at Series A but we follow our money and are typically good for £5-6 million per company over a series of rounds. 

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

32.

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We invest in businesses that use software, the internet and data to shake up large markets, transform supply chains, create new customer experiences or reduce the cost to sell or serve. We look at both B2B and B2C, and experience high quality deal flow in both areas. For example, recently we’ve backed interesting businesses in both B2B and B2C this summer - Sky-Futures is a drone technology company which services the oil and gas industry, while Bloom & Wild is a 'through the letterbox' florist delivery business. Ultimately we are looking for businesses that are designed from the start to grow fast, and can demonstrate their ability to do so in a scalable way.

What stage do you invest at?

We are early-stage investors so typically we invest at Series A and follow-on to Series B. 

Where are your offices?

Kensington Square, London. 

 

9. Smedvig Capital

How much do you have under management? 

$600 million

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

Targeting 3-4 deals per year at £7.5 million plus some follow on so a total of approximately £30 million. 

How much of this  are you investing in UK companies? 

All of the European number. 

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

£7.5 million. 

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

11

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

UK based technology businesses with at least £1 million of run rate revenue growing quickly and needing £2 million to £15 million of capital to grow quicker.

What stage do you invest at?

Series A and Series B.

Where are your offices?

Mayfair, London. 

 

10. Northzone

How much do you have under management? 

650 million (£504 million)

How much of this are you investing in European companies?

Northzone is a European focussed fund, with a couple of great US investments in sectors like media ecosystems and fintech, where we have particular expertise.

How much of this are you investing in UK companies? 

We have a flexible, European focus, and are seeing a lot of exciting companies coming out of the Europe’s key tech hubs – the Nordics, Berlin, and of course, London. 

What is the average size of the investments you make? 

We are stage agnostic and invest from early stage to expansion.

How many companies are in your portfolio? 

We have 46 active companies currently in our portfolio, and a number of exits from our earlier funds.

What types of companies are on your radar at the moment? 

We look for great teams building businesses with global market potential. At the moment, we see a lot of interesting companies in ecommerce, particularly those with marketplace models (Wallapop, Lesara, Fyndiq), media ecosystems (Spotify, Jukely, Soundtrack your Brand, Seriously, Space Ape), fintech and associated technologies (MarketInvoice, Klarna, iZettle) and innovative enterprise platforms (Fuse, Trustpilot, Widespace).

What stage do you invest at?

We are stage agnostic, but like to invest early and continue to back our entrepreneurs to scale.

Where are your offices?

We have offices in London (Soho), Stockholm, New York and Oslo.