Fearless Adventures, a Cheshire-based VC firm founded in October last year by entrepreneurs David Newns, Dominic McGregor and Charlie Yates, “wants to empower people” as the VC firm that has backed start-ups such as WalkSafe focuses on diversifying its pipeline.
Focusing on three main pillars – funding, marketing support and talent sourcing – the company recently completed its first investment round, raising an undisclosed figure from 14 investors including Music Magpie founder Steve Oliver, James Cox and Alex Packham.
With five investments already to their name, they are looking to invest in 10 to 12 start-ups.
Rachel McDonald, managing director of Fearless Adventures, said: “We’re trying to ensure that we get some diversity in the pipeline. That’s why we have joined an initiative called Fund Her North – a northern powerhouse initiative where we support female entrepreneurs – because the stats are ridiculous how few women get through to funding rounds.
“Obviously, we want to be incredibly diverse, and we are setting ourselves challenges internally to ensure we meet targets.”
Although Rachel says it is “not intentional”, women play a key part in business for the VC firm.
It has also joined the Investing in Women Code and reports to the Alison Rose Review, which examines female representation in UK business.
Fearless Adventures has also invested in WalkSafe, a free-to-download app founded by Emma Kay which helps guide women avoid dangerous hotspots when walking alone.
McDonald said: “Emma has been very clear that she wants the app to remain free to the end user. For us [it’s a case of believing] everyone has a right to feel safe on the streets, so we want to empower people as much as we can.
“It’s only part of the solution, clearly. And we’re part of an overall process but it’s just great to be able to support someone who is doing something genuinely good and we’ve had huge support from our community.”
Fearless Adventures will today be attending WalkSafe’s re-launch event for International Women’s Day in Mayfair for people with an investment and partnership interest in the start-up.
“Emma has everything: that passion and clarity about what she needs for her business and she deserves the support… she’s incredible,” McDonald added.
Like Sure Valley Ventures, the young VC firm, which was only founded in October last year, wants to be geographically diverse, investing all over Britain.
“Sometimes people look very inward – there are enough entrepreneurs in London for people to be getting on with and people don’t always look outside,” McDonald said. “We’re trying to access as many different groups of people as we can.”
3 things Fearless Adventures looks for in portfolio companies
#1 – People: “When they’re excited and passionate,” McDonald said. “A business we can get behind and an entrepreneur or team we believe in. We have invested in businesses which have one employee and we’ve invested in ones where there is already manufacturing and warehousing, so it’s quite varied.”
#2 – A clear plan: “A real understanding of exactly what is needed to get to the next level.”
#3 – Value: “We consider whether we can add value to this business. Why us? Can we really do something? Ultimately, we want to work with people who want to plough on with their business but want to work with us, not just because they want the money.”