Forward Investment Partners – my new home

By June 24, 2013Uncategorized


The big news in my corner of the world is that after nine good years I’ve left DFJ Esprit to join Forward Internet Group where I will be Managing Partner at Forward Investment Partners (FIP), responsible for early stage investments and Forward Labs. The core business of FIP is seed stage investments in tech companies and Labs is in the business of creating companies, again in the tech space. In both cases most of the portfolio companies are in the business of selling stuff online through market places and a variety of other innovative models. FIP has made eleven investments, including Unbound (in which DFJ Esprit is also an investor) and Hailo. The full portfolio list is here. Labs companies include Drop Wines and Makers Academy.

You may have seen this post on Techcrunch last week announcing my appointment.

Here are the reasons why I was thrilled to accept the job here:

  • We invest at the seed stage. I’ve always been drawn to early stage and as capital requirements have dropped it has become the most attractive end of the market in terms of value created per dollar invested.
  • My modus operandi as an investor is to identify markets that are about to open up and invest in the best company at that stage, but often there wasn’t a suitable company. With Labs we will be able to fill those gaps.
  • We have marketers, designers, and developers on staff here who can help our portfolio companies in ways that go well beyond what most VCs are able to offer.
  • Forward Internet Group (where I have joined the board) is a fantastic company. Great people and amazing success over the 8-9 years since it was founded.

Both Labs and FIP are young in their lives and we are still iterating towards our optimum model, but my ambition is that we will be attractive to entrepreneurs because with our help they can scale their companies faster and more cheaply.

I hope you get why I made the move, but it was not without a little sadness. I’m very sorry that I won’t be there in the same way for my former portfolio companies Lyst, Conversocial and StrikeAd, and I’m deeply grateful to partners at DFJ Esprit for my time there. I wish them and the portfolio there every success going forward.


  • Guest

    Good luck in your new role Nic

  • Thanks Clare. Times two.

  • Fabio De Bernardi

    Best of luck Nic! You and Paul (Fisher) are the 2 VCs I respected the most in my start-up days, I’m sure Forward will do very good with the 2 of you.

  • James Penman

    Congrats. Look forward to seeing what you get up to. You will still be writing blog though, yes??

  • Congratulations Nic. Cheers!

  • Thanks Fabio. Much appreciated.

  • Thanks James. And yes. Definitely. I’m looking forward to being able to write with fewer restrictions now.

  • thanks

  • Congrats Nic, and hope you enjoyed your short vacation

  • cheers Abdullah

  • Claire Braithwaite

    Would love to hear about your ashram experience. Can’t imagine there were any other VCs there!

  • Thanks Claire

  • Dan Tomas Ishigaki

    Fantastic; an explosion of opportunity and vision. Our Biz Dev director is establishing something very similar to Labs, an ideas generator with attached fund. It would be great to explore this, get us all talking and see what happens. Let me know and I can shoot you an email via Labs.

  • Adrian West


    Is there anyway a private investor can invest along side you at Forward?


  • Hi Adrian – we have individual investors alongside us in some of our deals but there is currently no way to co-invest at the fund level. Do you think there should be?

  • Adrian West

    Thanks Nic,

    I’d certainly be interested if you did have some kind of fund option. I guess the problem with individual opportunities is going to be the risk level.


  • Indeed. Thanks Adrian.