Intro to Forward Partners for JLAB - July 2014


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Introduction to Forward Partners from Nic Brisbourne

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  • * ecommerce investment studio

    * Focus on the ecommerce ecosystem
    * In this to make money for our investors
    * Support our companies operationally as well as financially - startup catalyst

    * Explain ecommerce focus

    * primarily that’s consumer facing businesses that sell product (as opposed to advertising models) and suppliers to the eocmmerce industry

  • * Explain support through a story

    * SnapTrip story - a market place for last minute discounted holidays in self catered cottages - the brainchild of an entrepreneur called Matt Fox

    * we backed him last December when it was just him and his idea
    * he paired with one of our developers and within thirty days had launched his first site
    * we also helped him with a structured customer dev process to refine and re-orient his business idea
    * then in month three he went and found his co-founder from a position of strength - because his business was now real, site live, large numbers of customer interviews done, £250k support from us - he was suddenly interesting to a larger and often more experienced and talented pool of tech co-founders than when he just had a Powerpoint
    * Moreover - he’d done things the right way round - spending the first sixty days working out whether he had a business and then pitching to co-founders, doing it the other way is backwards
    * Now been joined by Dan Harrison - eight years at HomeAway, a large company in an adjacent space and potential acquirer. He has been great for the company already and looks good on paper to investors.
    * Now supporting them with design and marketing as they grow sales

  • * Appear Here story - a market place for short-term lets on high street - may have seen the Old St concession

    * similar story - solo founder, helped him get started, helped him find a co-founder, helped him grow his revenues and build his team
    * Old Street has been huge for them
    * raised a Series A/late seed round and now growing fast with big name investors interested in the next round

  • * People - think of ourselves as guides - something like a wise shepherd that helps entrepreneurs both from their experience and practically on the journey - Yoda, Sherpa Tensing

    * Highly experienced team that helps deliver

    * product from Mind Candy
    * hiring from Facebook
    * design from Farfetch
    * ops from Housetrip
    * dev from Mobile Interactive Group

  • * Investing from inception to late seed

    * Last eight investments - running at two per quarter
    * early stage - three of these were solo-founder deals, tranching
    * late stage - usually 5-10 people, product in the market on the cusp of taking off
    * working with great investors - co-invested with Accel, Index and Balderton multiple times in last year

  • Methodologies - having good people is great, but to really be the best need to structure and continually iterate on what we do

    Building a thorough understanding of the customer is perhaps the most powerful thing an entrepreneur can do in the early weeks
    Very easy to do it wrong – The Mom Test, false positives, vanity conversations
    Lexoo example

  • * structured process for helping focus our efforts where it matters and getting companies to progress as quickly as possible to Series A
    * Based on the work of Steve Blank

  • * ther stuff we do - can see the list here, key take away is that everything we do is tailored to help entrepreneurs succeed

    * we aim to be the most helpful early stage investor

  • Intro to Forward Partners for JLAB - July 2014

    1. 1. Agenda • Forward Partners – An ecommerce investment studio • Tools – Customer development – Forward Flow • Q&A
    2. 2. Investing from inception to late seed Late seed: Average c£300k Early seed: Average c£250k over three tranches
    3. 3. Customer Development
    4. 4. The Forward Flow 0 1-3 4-6 7 8 Idea Customer discovery Customer validation Customer creation Company building STEP: Tranche 1 Tranche 2 Tranche 3 Series-A
    5. 5. Other stuff we do • Co-working space • Mentors • Fundraising support • Events – Forward Partners Live speaker events - Monthly – Forward Partners Open Day – Quarterly – Solo Founders Office Hours – Quarterly • Free stuff – Amazon credits, Stripe credits, etc.
    6. 6. Q&A @brisbourne