London VCs: a gold-digger’s guide
9 min read
04 October 2011
Milo Yiannopoulos reveals the results of his quest to unearth the ten most eligible venture capitalists and angel investors in Londonâs technology industry.
What do you look for in a man? Intelligence? Integrity? A healthy sense of humour? Well, good for you. For us mere mortals, though – with our crippling shopping addictions and worries about where next month’s rent is coming from – the size of a man’s cheque book can be just as important as any other measurement. So Real Business has assembled ten of the foxiest investors in our fair city for your viewing pleasure.
Of course, such is the woeful performance of the European venture capital industry, this can never be a true gold-digger’s guide: with a couple of exceptions, it’s more Waitrose than Daylesford Organic. But the people we’ve selected more than make up for any lack of carry with their intelligence, looks and personalities.
Our definition of “VC” is broad: angel investors with multiple investments in well-known startups have been allowed in as well. And we’ve done our best to ensure that every man on this list lives in London at least part of the time and is unmarried. (If any of our heartthrobs are permanently spoken for, we can only apologise. Then again, you know what they say… all the best men are taken: if you don’t steal ’em, you don’t get ’em!)
So here, in no particular order, are our top ten tech titans!
Scott Sage, DFJ Esprit
A lackadaisical Southern drawl masking a fierce intellect. Texan-born Scott Sage, who has attended Cambridge and Texas Tech University, formerly worked for another startup sexpot, Smarkets founder Jason Trost, before signing on as an associate at DFJ Esprit. With legendary wit and unsettlingly good moves on the dance floor, Sage is the coolest cat on our list.
Nick Bell, angel investor
Cheeky chappy Nick Bell hails from Newcastle, and only escaped participating in Geordie Shore when his mum found a letter from the production company and forbade him from appearing. Nick was successful at an infuriatingly young age, selling his first website, Teenfront.com, for almost a million quid when he was barely 16. Now a high-flying executive at News International, baby-faced Bell is head of consumer products for the company and is actively seeking more technology investments in his spare time.
Mattias Ljungman, Atomico
An intimate of Niklas Zennström and the man who helped Zennström set up venture firm Atomico, Mattias Ljungman is a elegant and coy but quite delightful addition to the list. He’s now a partner in the fund and sits on the board of a large number of startups, including Playfire and Loic Le Meur’s Seesmic. If you can penetrate Ljungman’s polished exterior, we’re told he’s quite the tiger.
Nenad Marovac, DN Capital
Never let it be said that Harvard MBA grads aren’t brimming with initiative. When recently-single Nenad Marovac, founder of DN Capital, heard we were putting together this list, he immediately sent us an impassioned email. “Help a brother out!” he wailed. Well, who are we to stand between dreamboat Nenad and the future Mrs Marovac? Dude: you’re welcome.
Robin Klein, Index Ventures
Robin Klein is a reclusive gent whose legendary reputation as an investor gets him mobbed whenever he appears at tech conferences. Possessed with a quiet demeanour and wry sense of humour, women who have worked with Klein invariably describe themselves falling for his charms. Klein has made over 60 investments in early-stage businesses and helped to set up the Seedcamp incubator programme. There are rumours of a wife, but in the spirit of optimism we’re keeping him in the running.
Harry Briggs, Balderton Capital
Posh totty Harry Briggs was the brains (or was it the brawn?) behind Firefly Tonics before joining Balderton Capital, where he has quickly established himself as one of the most charismatic, talented and popular associates in the industry. Eton and Oxford-educated Briggs sends hearts racing with his refined good looks and musical talents.
Brent Hoberman, mydeco.com
Everyone gets slightly different autocomplete results, but when we typed “Brent Hoberman” into Google last week, one of the first four results was “Brent Hoberman girlfriend”. That’s how in-demand Hoberman, who co-founded Lastminute.com and who has since become something of a mini-celebrity, appears to be. Hoberman’s latest venture, a design-led interiors and furniture ecommerce site, suggests that messy girls need not apply.
Frank Kelcz, SEB
“Irresistible in the flesh and the perennial bachelor,” said one of our anonymous judging panel about Frank Kelcz, who heads up the London operations of SEB Venture Capital. First encountered by your humble correspondent on a bus in Paris en route to LeWeb, we can attest to Kelcz’s intoxicating American charm. Kelcz is well-connected, too, recently hosting a party at his home for infamous Silicon Valley investor Dave McClure.
Tom Hulme, IDEO
Toothsome surfer dude Tom Hulme (we have no idea if he actually surfs, but with that hair, he should) keeps a lower profile than some of the other investors on our list, but that hasn’t stopped him from dropping cash into Wonga, Smarkets and a host of other small companies. Hulme is currently design director at IDEO and was included in WIRED magazine’s annual list of the top 100 “digital power brokers” in Britain.
SNAPPED UP! Four that got away
Max Niederhofer, angel investor
Suave and aristocratic Dr Maximilian Niederhofer is one half of the London tech power couple completed by Colette Ballou, president of Ballou PR. Formerly Principal at Atlas Venture, Max has now returned to the world of entrepreneurship with his latest startup, Qwerly. Max was an early investor in Last.fm and he currently has investments in a number of other technology startups including Skimlinks, Bottica and onefinestay. Bad luck, ladies: this fox is under locks!
Phillipp Moehring, Seedcamp
This Teutonic tease exploded onto the London scene when Seedcamp hired him as its new associate. Little did we realise at the time that our Phil had a girlfriend hiding on foreign shores. Now she’s living in London, Moehring’s buddies say, “We can’t even remember what he looks like now.” With his winning smile and ready wit, it’s no wonder this heartbreaker kept the girlfriend quiet for so long!
Stefan Glaenzer, Passion Capital/WhiteBearYard
Married with two children, you might wonder what Stefan Glaenzer is doing on this list. But that’s because you’re not Eileen Burbidge, his partner in both early stage investor Passion Capital and coworking space WhiteBearYard, who has the privilege of sitting opposite the brooding heartbreaker every day. Glaenzer is a prolific angel investor but he knows how to have a good time as well: he was recently photographed alongside Cheryl Cole at the Stylist Pick launch party during London Fashion Week.
Alex Hoye, angel investor
Friends of Alex Hoye, the über-connected uncle figure of the infamous “SPICE” networking group, believe his nickname, “The Chairman”, was acquired at work. Not so. This bulging triathlete is a serial angel investor and chief executive of digital marketing firm Latitude, in addition to mentoring and sitting on the boards of a number of startups.