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February 8, 2024

Episode 1 Unveils £76M Fund for Early Innovators

Episode 1 has launched an exciting £76 million fund to support early-stage innovators

Introducing Episode 1's latest venture: a formidable £76 million fund aimed at nurturing the next generation of early-stage innovators. With over two decades of experience in pre-seed and seed investments, Episode 1 is set to bolster B2B innovation, solidifying its position as one of the UK's foremost and most triumphant early-stage investors. This substantial fund, which includes a notable £20 million investment from British Patient Capital and the National Security Strategic Investment Fund, signals Episode 1's unwavering commitment to fostering innovation and driving sustainable growth.

Hector Mason, General Partner at Episode 1, sat down with TFN to shed light on the fund's mission and share insights into the current funding landscape.

Mason's entrepreneurial journey dates back to his teenage years. "Since I was about 16, I've always had enterprises," he shared. "After university, I founded several businesses, including a tech platform, a marketplace business, and a consultancy." Driven by a passion for venture capital, Mason eventually found his niche at Episode 1. "Three years ago, I founded Focal, a demo-day business," he explained. "We receive about 4,000 applications annually, with VC funds selecting the top 1% for our virtual demo days."

Mason's multifaceted background affords him a comprehensive view of the UK's funding landscape. "There's no shortage of capital at the earliest stages," he remarked. "However, startups further along the process are facing challenges due to inflated expectations from 2021."

While AI remains a hot topic, Mason exercises caution amid the hype. "We've been investing in AI for a long time," he noted. "But we tend to avoid startups focused solely on generative AI, preferring those that offer practical applications to enhance efficiency and effectiveness."

With an impressive track record, Episode 1 has cultivated a diverse portfolio of successful ventures. "We focus on B2B software companies at pre-seed and seed stages," Mason explained. "Our investments range from £250,000 to £3 million, with a keen interest in founders who tackle complex problems using AI."

Diversity remains a top priority for Episode 1. "A significant portion of our new fund supports companies with founders from underrepresented backgrounds," Mason emphasized.

Looking ahead, Episode 1 plans to expand its investment horizon beyond the UK, aiming to make between ten and fifteen investments annually. "We're always on the lookout for promising opportunities," Mason concluded. "And when we find them, we move swiftly to drive meaningful impact and foster innovation."

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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