Fundraising in 2023: Insights from UK Investors

Check out the recap of last month's in-person AMA at Rise London.

Piotr Bukanski of Beringea (left), Tanya Yankova of Octopus Ventures (Center), and Matt Hennigan of Plug and Play (Right)
Piotr Bukanski of Beringea (left), Tanya Yankova of Octopus Ventures (Center), and Matt Hennigan of Plug and Play (Right)

Last month's in-person AMA at Rise London invited founders from the UK ecosystem to ask their fundraising questions directly to investors.

Panelists included:

Matt Hennigan: Early-Stage Investor at Plug and Play
Tanya Yankova: Healthtech Investor at Octopus Ventures
Piotr Bukanski: Series A & B Investor, Beringea

Check out the full recap of insights and discussions below 👇

Tanya Yankova offered her insights on how going from domain expert to founder.

A few key takeaways:

  • The Power of Well-Rounded Expertise: Domain experts, like clinicians or doctors, have the knowledge needed to drive a problem/solution forward, but may lack the business experience to create a business around it. Tanya's advice is for domain-experts-turned-founders to surround themselves with advisors, staff, and (if applicable) investors who can assist in those facets while the founder focuses on the domain context.
  • Know Your Weaknesses: Carrying the first point further, Tanya expanded on how founders can find success more quickly by simply understanding their own weaknesses. This will help with staffing, as well as identifying the right investor. After all, investors prefer to have those weaknesses out in the open to collaborate on a way to support the founder.

Matt Hennigan's focus is primarily on early-stage ventures in the tech space. Matt provided great tips for founders who are approaching fundraising for the first time.

A few key takeaways:

  • No Shame in Not Knowing: Investors will (or should) know that it's your first time fundraising before the meeting even starts. Therefore, they won't be surprised if you don't know all of the terminology or frameworks. If you don't know, ask!
  • Consider Your Options: Very often, founders will find a select group of investors that they want to target. While it's great to have a target in mind, Matt advises founders to meet with as many VCs as they can. There's more to identifying the right investor than shopping through websites and portfolios, and in-person meetings often help first time founders realize that. Plus, the more meetings, the more founders get to practice. Practice makes perfect!

Piotr Bukanski focuses on Series A and Series B investments, and reminded founders of the ideally collaborative nature of the VC-founder relationship.

That is, good VCs should be advocates of the founders, meaning:

  • Rising Tides Raise All Boats: Piotr reminded founders that a good investor sees mutual success as the greatest metric. Like any good partner, VCs should support the founder's vision and needs in order to see wins for all parties.
  • Passion Drives Passion: Piotr notes that what his passion for innovation is what drives him as a venture capitalist. Founders can take solace in knowing that investors share similar motivations!

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