26 Most Active Venture Capital
Firms in London 2022

24th March 2022

Share

London has been leading the way in European venture capital (VC) funding and entrepreneurship for many years now, even giving Silicon Valley a run for its money. Venture capital firms have pumped over £26b into the city’s startup ecosystem since 2011, from high-risk, pre-seed companies to more established ventures. Here, we’ve ranked the 26 most active venture capital funds in the Capital, between 2011 and 2021, by number of investments made into London-based companies. Scroll down for full profiles on each fund, including investment criteria and some of the fast-growing businesses they’ve backed.

What are venture capital funds?

Venture capitalists are the most common equity investors into high-growth companies, ahead of both crowdfunding platforms and angel investors. VCs specialise in buying shares in and growing the valuations of private companies. But how does venture capital investment differ from other forms of startup funding? Unlike other institutional investors, many venture capitalists have been on the other side of the table, as founders of their own startups, so can offer their expertise and longer-term support, alongside growth finance.

Venture capital funds also typically invest in riskier portfolios than private equity and hedge funds, although each fund will have its own set of criteria outlining the types of investment opportunities considered. These decisions are made by fund managers (General Partners or GPs), whilst financial backing usually comes from large corporate investors or high-net-worth individuals (Limited Partners or LPs).

Venture capital in London’s startup ecosystem

Private equity and venture capital firms are very active investors into London startups and scaleups. Since 2011, 47% of equity deals secured by high-growth UK companies and backed by PE or VC firms have gone to businesses based in London. But that proportion is increasing, standing at 51% in 2021. Our data indicates that 540 funds have backed 3,429 equity investments in the region, providing growth capital to 2,168 high-growth businesses in London.

Unsurprisingly, venture capital investment in London predominantly goes to early-stage startups. Of the PE/VC funding rounds secured by high-growth companies in the Capital, 76% have gone to either seed or venture-stage businesses. In comparison, only 20% of PE/VC investment has been raised by companies at the growth stage, and just 4% by those at the established stage.

Aside from a slight drop off in 2018, VC activity in London has grown significantly over the past decade, from just 91 deals in 2011 to 569 in 2021. And despite—or potentially because of—the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw particularly strong growth in venture capital investment between 2020 and 2021, with a 24% rise in deal numbers.

This article looks at the most active venture capital funds in London, regardless of sector. If you want to narrow down these VCs even further, or by activity in other regions, then you can do so on the Beauhurst platform. Whether you work in corporate finance and are looking to secure venture funding for your clients, or you’re an angel or fund seeking venture capitalists to co-invest with, Beauhurst data can indicate the best VC firms for you to approach and partner with

Most Active Venture Capital Firms
in London 2011–2021

Although the Beauhurst platform does track unannounced fundraisings, we’re only able to assign investors to a round if their participation has been announced to the press or Beauhurst directly. As such, the actual number of deals completed by these funds may be higher than stated.

Known
investments
in London:

176 rounds
114 companies

01. Ascension

Ascension operates a collection of early-stage VC funds, built by exited entrepreneurs to back the next generation of technology and impact founders. With visibility of over 3k investment opportunities a year, Ascension invests through a number of funds. This includes tax efficient funds like Ascension EIS, Ascension SEIS, and the Ascension Life Fund, as well as its institutional funds Fair By Design (an impact investing fund that backs businesses reducing the poverty premium) and Good Food Fund (backing innovative foodtech companies that tackle childhood obesity). 

Whilst Ascension doesn’t publish its investment range, Beauhurst research indicates that it typically invests between £300k and £1.2m. Since 2011, we’ve tracked 176 of Ascension’s investments into 114 London startups. As well as providing growth capital, the fund also offers mentoring services and access to its network of industry contacts.

Download the pdf ranking report for offline analysis

Known
investments
in London:

162 rounds
95 companies

02. Octopus Ventures

Founded in 2000 by Simon Rogerson, Christopher Hulatt, and Guy Myles, Octopus Group is a fund management company that has expanded into all kinds of areas, including energy, real estate, and wealth management. Its investments into private companies are carried out through its European venture capital arm, Octopus Ventures

Since the fund launched in 2008, it’s primarily invested in businesses operating in the healthcare, fintech, deeptech, and consumer sectors. It looks to back companies led by talented entrepreneurs that are seeking to make a significant, positive impact on the world. Investments typically start at £1m for seed rounds, and £10m for venture rounds, and the fund seeks to continue supporting its portfolio companies through to IPO. The fund also provides companies with a network of coaches and operating consultants, alongside its Venture Partners. 

Since 2011, Octopus Group has backed 95 London-based companies, through at least 162 equity deals. Big names in its portfolio include Secret Escapes, online marketplaces Depop and Cazoo, vegan meal subscription company allplants, and food waste reduction app OLIO.

Known
investments
in London:

149 rounds
108 companies

03. Seedcamp

Launched in 2007, Seedcamp invests in founders using technology to tackle large, global markets. The fund is focused on early-stage companies, and typically invests between £100k and £2m. Whilst it’s sector agnostic, Seedcamp most commonly backs software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. The fund supports its portfolio companies to find product-market fit, builds out their sales and marketing functions, and makes introductions to a global network of experts. 

The fund has an excellent track record, having backed several of the UK’s unicorn companies, including Revolut, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and virtual events platform Hopin. Its portfolio also includes top fintech startups Primer, Curve, and challenger bank Monese. Since 2011, Seedcamp has invested into 108 ambitious businesses in London, through at least 149 separate equity funding rounds. 

Known
investments
in London:

148 rounds
123 companies

04. SFC Capital

SFC Capital is an early-stage investment firm, providing growth capital to UK startups. SFC (previously Startup Funding Club) invests between £100k and £300k in EIS or SEIS-qualifying companies, in any sector, so long as they have a clear USP and initial traction. The firm markets itself as a ‘people business’ and looks to build long-term relationships with both entrepreneurs and investors. The fund operates on a unique model, combining its award-winning angel network with its own seed investment fund

Since 2011, SFC Capital has supported 123 ambitious businesses in London, through at least 148 equity funding rounds. Its portfolio includes vertical farming tech venture Vertical Future, facial biometrics and cybersecurity company Onfido, ESG data analysis software firm Nossa Data, and biotech company CodiKoat. The fund recently won “Best SEIS Investment Manager 2021” by the EIS association and “The Most Active Investor in the Regions Award 2021” by UKBAA.

Known
investments
in London:

126 rounds
64 companies

05. Index Ventures

Index Ventures has worked with numerous London unicorns, including Deliveroo, FarFetch, Funding Circle, Wise and Revolut. And an impressive number of its investee companies have also carried out successful IPOs. The fund works with founders in any sector, at any stage, but its portfolio shows a particular interest in seed and venture-stage startups in fintech, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and eHealth or healthtech

Since 2011, the fund has backed at least 64 companies in London, through 126 individual equity fundraisings. Index Ventures markets itself as a people-focused, global fund that partners with entrepreneurs to turn ideas into international businesses. It currently has offices in London, Geneva, and San Francisco. 

Known
investments
in London:

104 rounds
69 companies

06. LocalGlobe

Run by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, LocalGlobe focuses on London-based founders, typically at early-stage tech startups. The investment team prefers to meet founders through warm introductions and generally keeps its investment criteria under wraps. But it most commonly invests in SaaS and artificial intelligence (AI) companies

Having launched in 2016, LocalGlobe is an incredibly active investor in London’s startup space. The fund has backed 69 companies in the Capital, across at least 104 equity funding rounds. LocalGlobe’s portfolio includes edtech firm Kano, B2B challenger bank Tide, startup recruitment platform Otta, budgeting app Cleo, and Wise.

Known
investments
in London:

101 rounds
50 companies

07. Passion Capital

Passion Capital is an early-stage VC which looks to invest in digital media, software and e-commerce companies. The fund originally targeted an average investment size of between £150k and £200k, but it has since made a wider range of deals.

First established in 2011, Passion Capital has made at least 101 equity investments into London’s high-growth ecosystem, supporting 50 ambitious tech startups in the city. The fund’s portfolio includes Monzo, GoCardless, proptech Nested, mental wellbeing startup Spill, and insurtech unicorn Marshmallow.

Known
investments
in London:

95 rounds
72 companies

08. BGF

BGF invests in SMEs across all sectors and regions of the UK and Ireland. Its average initial investment is around £5m, with significant follow-on funding as required, in exchange for between 10% and 40% equity share of the company. BGF (formerly Business Growth Fund) has a strong success rate, with more than 100 exits by its portfolio companies.

BGF has backed 72 ambitious companies based in London, through at least 95 equity funding rounds. Alongside growth finance, the fund offers access to a global network of experts and other investors, as well as support with strengthening boards, succession planning, and exit strategies. 

Known
investments
in London:

91 rounds
51 companies

09. MMC Ventures

MMC Ventures focuses on transformative technology companies, predominantly in the UK. It helps to scale these businesses, typically investing between in Series A, though the fund can also invest from pre-seed and support companies to later-stage. The fund was an early investor in Gousto, and has several other notable companies in its portfolio, including flower delivery company Bloom & Wild and market intelligence platform Signal AI. 

MMC is very active in London, having backed 51 companies in the city, across at least 91 equity fundraisings since 2011. The firm has been investing since 2000 and has over $1.2b under management across its various funds. In 2019, it launched a new £52m seed fund to support small businesses in the Capital, as part of the Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF—a fund of funds backing SMEs in the Capital).

Known
investments
in London:

84 rounds
41 companies

10. Balderton Capital

Balderton Capital is focused on backing European-founded tech companies with global ambitions. Since launching over two decades ago, Balderton Capital has worked with more than 200 founders and raised over $3b to invest in their startups. The fund takes a long-term approach, typically investing in the early stages of a company’s growth, between $1m and $20m, and continuing to support them from start to exit. 

Since 2011, Balderton Capital has backed 41 high-growth companies based in London, through at least 84 equity funding rounds. Its portfolio is impressive, with big names including Revolut, ComplyAdvantage, Depop, Citymapper, and GoCardless.

Known
investments
in London:

81 rounds
35 companies

11. Accel Partners

Accel Partners is a US venture capital fund with an impressive track record, having successfully backed the likes of Slack, Bumble and Deliveroo from an early stage. The fund is interested in a broad range of tech sectors and has a huge global presence, but currently manages its European operations from London.

Since 2011, Accel has made investments into 35 London-based startups, through at least 81 equity deals, including investments into Hopin, Monzo, and digital security company Snyk. The fund invests growth capital and works closely with businesses to develop their brands and expand their customer base.

Known
investments
in London:

70 rounds
47 companies

12. Downing Ventures

An investment management and business finance firm, Downing invests in innovative technologies through its VC arm, Downing Ventures. The fund’s international portfolio covers a range of sectors, including deeptech, healthcare, education, e-commerce and data analytics. It typically looks to invest between £500k and £5m per round, into EIS-qualifying companies. 

Downing has backed 47 London-based companies since 2011, across at least 70 equity rounds. These businesses include FundingXchange, Vivacity Labs, and drone company Hummingbird Technologies. The fund works alongside a number of investment partners and accelerator programmes, such as the London Co-Investment Fund.

Known
investments
in London:

60 rounds
40 companies

13. AlbionVC

Albion Capital Group is a London-based investment firm with more than 20 years of experience in venture finance. It currently manages over £600m across its funds. The Group invests in the UK’s high-growth technology market through AlbionVC, backing companies from late-seed through to Series B, investing between £250k and £10m per round. 

The fund focuses on B2B software (SaaS, fintech, AI, and digital risk), deeptech (computer and physical sciences, and life sciences) and healthcare (digital health and medtech). Since 2011, AlbionVC has backed 40 London startups, through at least 60 equity funding rounds.

Known
investments
in London:

59 rounds
28 companies

14. Notion Capital

Notion Capital is an early-stage investor in European enterprise tech, SaaS and cloud-based software. The fund was first launched in 2009, and its co-founders and partners are proven entrepreneurs and operators, who are well-versed in growing successful tech businesses. Notion Capital ideally looks for fast-growing companies, with $1m+ annualised revenue (ARR). 

The fund typically invests between $3m and $5m. Since 2011, it’s backed 59 equity investments into 28 London-based companies, nine of which have reached an exit event. Portfolio companies include fintech firms GoCardless, Currencycloud and Paddle. Outside of London, Notion has backed several European unicorns, such as Tradeshift, Unbabel, and Mews System.

Known
investments
in London:

57 rounds
56 companies

15. Access EIS

Access EIS is one of the youngest funds on this list and under the management of former crowdfunding site SyndicateRoom (which moved to a VC fund model in 2019). It is a sector-agnostic fund, focused on disruptive UK startups that are eligible for the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme

Driven by data from the Beauhurst platform, Access EIS only invests in highly-vetted deals, alongside so-called ‘super angels’. SyndicateRoom puts an emphasis on co-investment, diversification, maximising access to deal flow, and getting in early to reduce risk, whilst keeping the process accessible to new investors. It typically invests between £400k and £5m.

With a strong weighting towards backing new ventures over follow-on investments into existing portfolio companies, Access EIS has already backed 56 ambitious London businesses, through at least 57 investments.

Known
investments
in London:

57 rounds
40 companies

16. Fuel Ventures

Fuel Ventures is a seed VC that invests exclusively in EIS-qualifying companies. It focuses on fast-growing tech businesses developing SaaS, platforms, scalable marketplaces, and transaction technologies. On top of this, the investment team looks for companies with a proven business model and the ability to scale quickly, as well as international growth potential. It typically invests between £250k and £2m in each funding round.

The fund aims to be a ‘startup studio’, offering incubation support to new companies, alongside early-stage investment. This generally requires businesses to relocate to its London office for the duration of the programme. As such, Fuel Ventures is very active in the Capital, having completed at least 57 equity fundraisings into 40 London-based companies since 2011. 

Notable companies in the fund’s portfolio include equity management platform Capdesk, Curve, and e-commerce startup Heroes (founded by “phoenix founders” Alessio & Riccardo Bruni).

Known
investments
in London:

56 rounds
40 companies

17. Forward Partners

Forward Partners is an early-stage VC firm that provides growth capital, a purpose-built startup studio, and revenue-based finance to new businesses. Its Pre-Seed and Seed fund invests in software companies, with a focus on applied AI, marketplaces and e-commerce startups. It invests between £200k and £3m, from pre-seed through to Series A rounds. 

Whilst it has no geographical restrictions, Beauhurst research indicates that Forward Partners primarily invests in UK companies with occasional investments in the US. Since 2011, the fund has backed 40 London-based businesses, through at least 56 equity funding rounds. These include online plant retailer Patch, payments-as-a-service platform Apexx, and data infrastructure provider Ably.

Known
investments
in London:

55 rounds
33 companies

18. Playfair Capital

Founded in 2013 by angel investor Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Playfair Capital is one of London’s leading pre-seed and seed VCs. It invests in innovative tech companies, predominantly in the UK, but has so far backed more than 70 founding teams in 12 countries. The fund typically invests between £100k and £500k at pre-seed, and rounds of up to £2m into seed-stage companies. 

Beyond growth capital, Playfair also offers founders advice on operating and scaling a business, and hiring talent. As an active investor in London’s tech scene, the fund has backed 33 ambitious companies in the city since 2011, through at least 55 equity funding rounds. These include Sprout.ai, Ravelin, Thought Machine and Omnipresent. 

The fund is a keen supporter of ambitious female founders and runs a series of female founder office hours. These have brought together 700 founders for 2,800 one-to-one mentoring and pitch meetings, with over 90 investors so far.

Known
investments
in London:

54 rounds
39 companies

19. Beringea

Beringea is a US-based fund manager that’s been in the business for over 25 years and invests in startups across the US and Europe. It has managed two ProVen venture capital trusts (VCTs) in the UK since 2000, which together have more than £300m under management. 

The funds invest in later-stage, post-revenue companies with strong management teams and a clear route to profitability laid out in their business plans. Along with development capital, Beringea supports MBOs/MBIs and usually seeks to take a seat on a company’s Board of Directors. Typically investing between £1m and £10m, the fund’s focus sectors range from life sciences and cleantech to media and e-commerce.

Between 2011 and 2021, Beauhurst has tracked 54 equity investments by Beringea into 39 London-based businesses, eight of which have already gone on to exit. Its portfolio companies include Papier, fashion stylist service Thread and jewellery retailer Monica Vinader.

Known
investments
in London:

53 rounds
29 companies

20. Anthemis

Anthemis is a venture investment platform, focused on tech-driven companies, specifically in the digital financial services sector. The firm has offices in London, New York, Luxembourg and Geneva, but is willing to invest anywhere in the world. 

The fund is supported by the European Investment Fund and UniCredit, and its team of fintech investors provides growth capital, alongside support and advice, to its portfolio companies. These include several London-based businesses, such as Currencycloud, Proportunity, True Layer, and Fluidly. In total, Anthemis has backed 29 ambitious London businesses since 2011, through at least 53 equity fundraisings.

Known
investments
in London:

52 rounds
33 companies

21. Connect Ventures

Connect Ventures is a pan-European VC firm backing impact-led founders that are creating new, scalable software products and technologies. In the past, the fund has made investments in the range of $450k to $1.8m. It primarily focuses on London startups, but around 40% of its investments have gone to companies based across the EU. 

Since 2011, Connect Ventures has backed 33 high-growth London businesses, through at least 52 equity fundraisings. Its portfolio companies include fintech Soldo, open banking API company True Layer, lawtech Genie AI, and retail analytics firm Purple Dot.

Known
investments
in London:

47 rounds
37 companies

22. Force Over Mass

Force Over Mass invests in B2B technology companies based in Europe that are combining transformational tech with strong business models. Alongside its Growth Funds, Force Over Mass invests in EIS or SEIS-qualifying businesses via its EIS Funds. 

Since 2011, Force Over Mass has backed 37 ambitious London companies, through at least 47 equity funding rounds. Its portfolio includes geocode system developers what3words, drone startup SenSat, and augmented reality (AR) adtech Admix.

Known
investments
in London:

47 rounds
31 companies

23. ACF Investors

ACF Investors manages the Angel CoFund, an early-stage venture capital fund which invests alongside angel investors who are experts in their sector, sharing due diligence with them. The fund typically invests between £100k and £1m, in rounds ranging from £200k upwards, providing up to 49% of the capital.

ACF Investors also recently launched the ACF Delta Fund, targeted at UK businesses raising equity or convertible loan note rounds that are greater than £500k. Again, the fund seeks to invest up to 49% of the capital in each round, contributing between £200k and £1m. 

Notable portfolio companies include unicorn company Gousto (which the fund has been backing since 2013), fintech firm Form3, and City Pantry, an online marketplace for ready to eat food deliveries in London (which was acquired by Just Eat in 2019). Based in Sheffield, the fund manager has backed at least 31 London companies across 47 rounds so far.

Known
investments
in London:

46 rounds
43 companies

24. Jenson Funding Partners

Southwark-based Jenson Solutions provides a range of financial services, and operates an SEIS and EIS fund through Jenson Funding Partners. The fund, which has been active since 2013, provides growth capital and operational support to disruptive UK businesses. It has an exit horizon of five to seven years. 

Jenson Funding Partners does not publish its investment range, but Beauhurst research indicates that it typically invests between £100k and £5m. For SEIS investments, it aims to invest the full £150k, where possible.

The fund has backed 43 London-based companies so far, across 46 rounds. Portfolio companies include TreeApp, a mobile app which enables users to plant trees by answering surveys, and Dame, which provides a postal delivery subscription service for tampons and sanitary towels.

Known
investments
in London:

45 rounds
33 companies

25. Episode 1

Episode 1 is a seed-stage venture capital fund which invests between £500k and £2m in early-stage B2B software companies in the UK. The fund takes an active role in its portfolio companies, helping across all aspects of company building, including hiring and refining a go-to-market strategy. 

With its first investment completed in 2014, Episode 1 has been ramping up its deal activity ever since, with known participation in 14 rounds in 2021 (compared with just three in 2016). It has backed at least 33 businesses based in London, through 45 funding rounds. Notable portfolio companies include carwow, Attest and CloudNC.

Known
investments
in London:

45 rounds
29 companies

26. Molten Ventures

Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit) is a tech-centred VC, predominantly investing in European companies with global ambitions. Whilst any tech-centred business can apply for investment, the fund tends to focus on consumer and enterprise technologies, hardware and electronics, and digital health and wellness. 

Founded in 2006, Molten Ventures participates in around 20 deals a year. It provides growth capital, in the region of £2m to £50m (depending on growth stage). Since 2011, the fund has backed at least 45 equity rounds into 29 high-growth London businesses, seven of which have gone on to exit. Its London-based portfolio companies include PrimaryBid, Cazoo, and CausaLens.

Want to explore up-and-coming London startups and the funds that back them?

Beauhurst helps you find and understand the most exciting companies in the UK, in the time it takes to read this sentence. You can even search by those that are actively hiring right now...

“It’s taken us an eternity to find the same companies that Beauhurst listed in just minutes!”

Sign up today to get a free demo where you can access the platform.

We’ll help you navigate the platform, so you can:

Everything will be customised around your business and needs, so you can explore relevant data and get the most out of the platform.

Did you know? Beauhurst is the only provider of unannounced fundraisings data—which account for 70% of all fundraisings. Don’t miss out! Sign up now.

Enter your info now to try Beauhurst:

Beauhurst is a single source of truth on the UK’s high-growth economy – it truly is our guiding light in finding the right businesses to approach.

Propel.svg
BGF.svg
BGF.svg