Silvergate Investments was launched in 2018 by Waheed Alli, a British entrepreneur and Labour life peer, to back fast-growing and scalable start-ups with great stories, innovative technology and brilliant founders.
Waheed Alli has partnered with Jana Bakunina to invest in businesses founded by women and/or entrepreneurs from minority backgrounds to help them grow and achieve attractive returns.
Who we are
We invest in fast-growing and scalable start-ups with great stories and innovative technology. We prioritise businesses led by women and/or minority founders because such opportunities are overlooked and underfunded.
Jana Bakunina grew up in Russia before coming to Britain to study Economics & Management at Oxford. She worked in the City and in TV advising companies on mergers and acquisitions. Most recently, she has been advising funds and individuals on investments in start-ups. She is also the author of Bird’s Milk, a memoir about Russia, and she writes a blog Life Tonic about life skills, entrepreneurship and personal development.
Waheed Alli is a British entrepreneur. He was the founding Chairman of ASOS, the UK’s largest online fashion retailer. Waheed Alli is Chief Executive of Silvergate Media, an independent media company developing world-class children’s brands for multiplatform broadcasters and retail partners with offices in London and New York and operations in China. He is also Chairman of Koovs plc, an online fashion retailer in India. Waheed Alli was appointed a Labour life peer in 1998.
Why female and/or ethnic minority founders
According to a report published by PitchBook, female founders received just 2.2% of $130 billion in venture capital (VC) funding in 2018.
In the UK, for every £1 VC investment, all female founder teams get less than 1p. Mixed gender teams get 10p. All-male founder teams get 89p (British Business Bank report, published in 2019 based on 2017 data).
This may well be correlated with the fact that the VC community is dominated by male decision-makers.
According to Venturing into Diversity and Inclusion 2019 report by a non-profit organisation Diversity VC, 39% of 223 venture funds surveyed in London don't have women on their investment team and 65% of London funds don't have senior women on their investment committees.
74% of London-based VC professionals are white, which implies that founders from ethnic minority backgrounds have even lower odds to get VC funding.
Yet a 10-year study by First Round Capital published in 2015 showed that companies with female founders performed 63% better than investments with all male-rounding teams.
According to the June 2018 report by BCG, women-owned start-ups deliver > 2.5x more revenue per $ invested than companies founded by men.
At Silvergate Investments, we want to give priority to businesses founded by women and diverse entrepreneurs because they are overlooked, underfunded and therefore present excellent opportunities to make attractive returns.
Outfox is a new brand of alcohol-free wine launched in the UK to address the growing demand for alcohol-free socialising. Outfox drinks look, feel and taste like "proper" drinks but are low in sugar and calories. The company founder Jessica Hook has created a premium innovative "dry drinking" brand for health conscious alcohol abstainers and moderators.
Rubies in the Rubble is a sustainable food brand, making delicious condiments from surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. The founder, Jenny Costa, began making chutneys from discarded vegetables from New Covent Garden market in London in 2012. Today you can find Rubies in the Rubble mayo and ketchup in Marriott hotels, Virgin trains and UK supermarkets .
Floom is an online marketplace for ordering beautiful premium bouquets of flowers from independent florists which was founded by Lana Ellie in London in 2016. Since then Floom has rapidly expanded in the US. In 2019, the company launched B2B SAAS to help florists manage their businesses with simple and intuitive platform, FloomX.
Founded by Olivia Wollenberg in 2014, Livia’s specialises in creating "better for you" sweet treats. Livia's products are made using simple natural ingredients and are free from gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy and refined sugar. Nugglets, Biccy Boms, Million Squares and Dunx are sold online, in Boots, in all major UK supermarkets and health food stores.
Olio is a free neighbour-to-neighbour surplus food sharing app. It helps people and local businesses give away food rather than waste it. Launched by Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One in London in January 2016, the app now has over 1.4 million users. It is set to become the leading global food sharing platform tackling food waste.
How to Apply
Cheque size: £50,000 - £500,000
We invest in both early stage businesses (MVP, traction and a growth plan) as well as growth stage businesses (proven business model, product/market fit and a plan of how to scale.)
We like consumer-facing businesses, such as e-commerce or digitally native brands. We'll also consider B2B businesses as long as they are innovative and scalable.
Our core territories are UK, US, China, India, Australia and Continental Europe
Ready to pitch?
Download application guidelines below and get in touch!
Silvergate Investments 2
4th Floor, York House
London, WC2B 6UJ