Who are the most active UK venture capital funds?

| Hannah Skingle

Having recovered from a slump in 2016, 2018 is already the biggest year on record for amount invested by UK venture capital funds, at just three quarters of the way through the year. Whilst deal numbers are still lagging behind, some funds are contributing far more to this total than the average VC. 

Size and number of UK venture capital deals completed over time*

Graph showing UK venture capital investment over time

Of 234 active, UK venture capital funds, the median number of  announced fundraisings is just 8. In comparison, the most active VC fund by number of announced fundraisings is Index Ventures, with a massive 374 announced investments – that’s 216 more than the next biggest. We’ve profiled the top 5 most prolific, active UK venture capital funds, and taken a closer look at the crossover between their portfolios.

*This data is based on announced investments, unannounced deals will not be associated with a fund, and thus will not be counted. Actual number of deals are likely to be higher for all funds. Where size of investment is quoted, this refers to the total amount of the fundraising round, and not the individual contribution of each fund. We have classed ‘active UK venture capital funds’ as funds with a head office in the UK, who are actively investing in R&D, seed or venture stage companies. 

5 most active UK venture capital funds by number of fundraisings

Index Ventures
374
Octopus Ventures
158
Balderton Capital
143
Mercia Fund Managers
141
Passion Capital
108

Index Ventures

Index Ventures logo

Index Ventures has participated in 374 announced fundraisings across 229 companies, totalling £6.31b with an average fundraising size of £17.5m. The stake taken by investors in these deals averaged 30.2% at a £77m pre-money valuation.

Index Ventures have worked with four unicorns including Deliveroo, the best funded British startup; FarFetch, which recently filed for IPO on the New York stock Exchange; and Funding Circle, an online lending platform that has hit the headlines with plans to float on the London Stock Exchange for £300m, which could give the company a valuation of up to £2b. They have also funded challenger bank Revolut.

Octopus Ventures

Octopus Ventures logo

Octopus Ventures has participated in 158 announced fundraisings across 91 companies, totalling £779m with an average fundraising size of £5.23m. The stake taken by investors in these deals averaged 29.4% at a £13.4m pre-money valuation.

Notable investments include Swoon Editions, Secret Escapes and Graze. Octopus Ventures most recently participated in a £4.54m round for OLIO, featured in our recent blog on food waste related startups.

Balderton Capital

Balderton Capital logo

Balderton Capital has participated in 143 announced fundraisings across 90 companies totalling £1.56b with an average fundraising size of £11.3m. The stake taken by investors in these deals averaged 24.5% at a £45.9m pre-money valuation.

Notable investments include Wonga, the payday lender that went into administration just last week, e-commerce giant The Hut Group, and unicorn challenger bank Revolut.

Mercia Fund Managers

Mercia Fund Managers logo

Mercia Fund Managers have participated in 141 announced fundraisings across 83 companies, totalling £148m with an average fundraising size of £1.08m. The stake taken by investors in these deals averaged 24.1% at a £2.82m pre-money valuation.

Mercia Fund Managers have a particular focus on innovation, with 27 university spin-out companies in their portfolio, including Oxford Genetics, Medherant and PsiOxus Therapeutics. Over 60% of their investments have gone to technology and IP based businesses.

Passion Capital

Passion Capital logo

Passion Capital has participated in 108 announced fundraisings across 57 companies, totalling £283m with an average fundraising size of £2.86m. The stake taken by investors in these deals averaged 25.4% at a £8.85m pre-money valuation.

The biggest rounds they have participated in supported three big FinTech players: Monzo, GoCardless and Tide. Their recent investments include Marshmallow, a seed stage InsurTech company catering for people who have migrated to the UK.

Where's the overlap?

Given that these are the most prolific UK venture capital funds, it’s unsurprising that there is some crossover in who they have invested in, especially when considering the overlap between sector focus. But a vote of confidence from more than one of them is still an impressive achievement. 21 UK companies have received funding from two of these big five, but none have received investment from three or more. Notably, there is no crossover between Mercia Fund Managers and the remaining four, showing their distinct focus on IP and innovation.

The diagram below shows the number of UK companies each fund has announced an investment in, and the 21 companies who have received funding from more than one fund. 

Overlap between the uk companies invested in by 5 most active uk venture capital funds

Crossover between most active UK venture capital funds

Explore every UK Venture capital fund

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