Back to the classroom for entrepreneurs who want to change London tech

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Technical course aiming to make the area less male and pale

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OnDone’s tech investors have been sitting pretty well over the past few years, raising record amounts of capital and watching their investments — including companies based in the capital like Revolut, and Gausto — take unicorns in record time. reach the position.

The capital’s tech companies raised £18bn of a total of £29.4bn across the UK last year, and London is home to 20 new unicorns, a third of all in Europe.

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But there are some critical voices who point out that the tech world is just another tight-knit boys’ club, and a pretty white one at that, just like the city is in its 80s and 90s.

A 2019 survey by pressure group Diversity.VC found that only 30% of VC personnel were women and only 24% of the enterprise workforce is non-white.

Another report by Extend Ventures, detailing how VCs have invested in the UK between 2009 and 2019, shows the consequences of the lack of diversity in the sector. During that time, all ethnic teams received an average of only 1.7% of the venture capital investments made across all phases in a decade.

Increasingly, concerned voices in tech and government are saying that if the UK tech sector is to succeed, it simply cannot be a career or industry for people who all look and sound alike.

A new course called the Newton Venture Program, a joint venture of the London Business School and early-stage investor LocalGlobe backed by a Silicon Valley bank, is trying to change that by teaching investing skills to people who don’t usually come from backgrounds. Area. To do this, the curriculum intends that at least half of its students will come from unseen gender groups (not just women) and half from unseen ethnic backgrounds.

Applications are now open to the first person Duration Will take place at London Business School in April. And 60 trainees can join Newton’s digital curriculum, which begins in March.

Standard spoke to two entrepreneurs about their experience becoming VCs.

Vineet Patel (VP) co-founded, a learning tech company that already works with global companies including Novartis, Shell and AstraZeneca. Whereas Stephen Bediaco (SB) OBE is a social entrepreneur who has established businesses in London and the US.

Can you learn to be an investor?

SB: I am at the beginning of my journey but there are some methods, approaches and calculations for you to learn. It’s also about judgment – is it the right leader? Is this the right organization? Do they know their customers? Is there really a market? When you break it down – it’s a lot about people and their behaviors.

Why this course?

VP: I liked its focus on diversity, equality and inclusion, removing bias, and building networks. If you have such a strong foundation, it makes the deals you source so much better and more diverse.

what have you learned?

SB: I’ve learned a core set of modules that serve as a step-by-step guide on my investing journey. I have also learned that I can do it, although it will take weeks, months and years to master investing commitment. Finally, I learned that some parts of the sector are committed to making investments more diversified.

Are there any problems with the VC in London?

VP: The main issue facing VCs in London is their London bias. It may not be that the best companies are established/based in London; There are great companies and founders across the UK!

SB: It is dominated by a small homogeneous group of people, and it can do much more for good. If it were more diverse it could drive a lot more innovation and value. However, VC moves and learns rapidly, and I think that is changing rapidly.

Isn’t being an entrepreneur the best education for investing?

SB: The reality is that investing is about being able to look at a market, its customers, and understand how a business can grow to meet the needs of that market/client. Investing and entrepreneurship to me are like brothers and sisters – deeply connected yet unique in their own right.

Is there a deal you wish you had done?

VP: Hoffie, Remote Equipment Management Platform — I’m a client and have come close to investing. Great team, great investors and great problem they are solving successfully.

SB: A close friend of mine started the scooter business three years ago – I thought it was a fad. It is now one of the fastest growing scooter businesses and is changing travel in the USA and Europe!

Tell us what the next Apple will be?

VP: If you mean the next most valuable company in the world in the next 10 years… it either doesn’t exist today, will come from China or may still be one of the FAGMA.


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