Stuart joins us from the wilds of South Devon, (in lockdown) standing up and freshly shaven, to tell us about his experience as a venture capitalist which was honed by working in several big VC’s in London. The main role was at Octopus where he ran a £45m VCT and they all provided Stuart with the experience to build his latest venture, a VC called, Qantx.
Qantx is focused on backing founders in the South West of England, with the deal-flow driven by Stuart’s excellent reputation and hard work supporting founders over recent years. This has been supplemented by the strong standing his local backers have as well in the region.
Stuart explains the fund is focused on three areas that play to the strengths of the South West of England: 1/Enabling Net-Zero, 2/Optimising Healthcare and 3/Monetising Data (which basically means anything and everything AI and Deep-Tech). With an over-riding impact arch to their investments, a strong commercial return is important.
Significantly, it’s the first new fund launch in the South West in 15 years that is focused on active risk capital. Their goal is grow some regional, national and potentially international Tech champions, following the recent successes of local hero’s ..Graphcore and Xmos. A real SXSW focus!
Elsewhere in the Vodcast, Stuart chats and drops a few pearlers on mezzanine risk (or flexible debt) where he is a luminary, as well as his prestigious position of being one of the first investors in the Renewables space, decades ago. He also shares his quality do’s and dont’s for founders.
In general, Stuart is a busy old ferret, in addition to Qantx, he also discusses the work he does with the Royal Academy of Engineering, in London and Heropreneurs, a business he established to help Ex-Servicemen build Tech businesses, harnessing the great skills many military trained personnel have.
I’d also add a word of warning we go in deep on age-ism, harnessing Chris’s new passion to champion Tech opportunities for oldies. “Tech for Oldies”. This is fast becoming an over-looked and growing minority that the Generation Z founders and funders should be leaning on more for their experience. (Remember the internet boom and bust.. we lived and worked through that)!
Finally, if you are a South West Based Founder or potentially thinking of establishing a locally focused Tech fund, then this is a much watch / listen.