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.