Lovefilm’s Simon Calver to lead £200m start-up fund

MMC's Rory Stirling and Balderton Capital's Harry Briggs will also head up BGF's new cash pot for early-stage tech companies

Simon Calver, the former boss of Lovefilm and Mothercare, will be heading up a new £200m fund for UK technology start-ups alongside MMC Ventures’ Rory Stirling and Balderton Capital’s Harry Briggs.

The new cash pot has been launched by the Business Growth Fund (BGF) and will look to invest between £500,000 and £5m in fast-growth tech companies.

The fund will be looking to identify the next “unicorn” businesses – British start-ups set to achieve a billion-dollar valuation.

Commenting on the news, BGF chief executive, Stephen Welton, said: “There is not enough capital available to these companies and the venture capital market is very London-centric.

“We know there is demand.”

Stirling has announced that he is leaving MMC to focus on building the new fund. In a blog on MMC’s website, he commented:

“It’s with a real mixture of sadness, pride and excitement that I’ll be leaving MMC. Sadness because of the team and portfolio I leave behind, pride in what I’ve helped create, and excitement for the challenge that lies ahead.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be starting a new fund with significant capital (£200m), the support of a successful platform (thank you BGF), and two awesome partners who bring a unique mix of proven venture and entrepreneurial experience.”

Harry Briggs has also published a great blog on his departure from Balderton which you can read here.

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