How did your career begin, leading to where you are today?
I started working in venture capital six years ago and when I first joined the industry, I was struck by how homogenous it was. It seemed to be mainly the same kinds of people making investments in the same kinds of people.
Nearly three years ago, my partner Matt and I decided to start a new fund, Ada Ventures, focused on a truly inclusive investment strategy. Ada Ventures invests in bold ideas that we think could reach 1B people. We will invest in anyone, but we particularly seek out overlooked founders building companies for overlooked customer groups.
Which industries are you working in?
We invest in technology companies, particularly in the healthcare sector, consumer and future of work.
What do you look for in a founder?
We look for founders who over index on five key qualities – leadership, relentlessness, mission, humility and commerciality. We look for people who we would be excited to give up our jobs for and go and work for them.
Can you talk about your current portfolio?
We’ve invested in 15 companies so far, many of them tackling big challenges that face society. The investments include impact investment app Tickr; clinical trial software RGrid; workers’ rights network Organise; childcare marketplace Bubble, and SME fulfilment company Huboo.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you operate?
It’s not changed things too much. We’ve always had a very agile investment process, the first two stages of which started on Zoom. Before COVID-19, we would meet founders in their offices for a deep dive of several hours, which we haven’t been able to do in the last year. We’ve missed the in-person element of due diligence, but feel very fortunate to have been able to mostly operate our business as normal.
What does the future look like for both Ada Ventures and upcoming trends?
We are excited about founders addressing the climate crisis with new technologies and approaches. We’re also continuing our focus on a truly inclusive investment strategy through partnering with programmes like Beyond HERizons, supporting a group of diverse female founders on their scaling journey.
What makes your company different?
Our focus on inclusion, which is at the heart of everything we do.
What one piece of advice would you give founders?
Challenge yourselves to think big – be bold in your vision. Don’t let other people put a limit on your ideas or what you can do.
Check Warner is partner at Ada Ventures.