British Patient digs deep for seed specialist Connect

The UK government-backed investor joined Spanish investment firm Aldea Ventures, UK impact investor Big Society Capital, US family offices and funds-of-funds managers.

British Patient Capital is so bullish about Connect Ventures that it put up nearly one-third of the capital for the UK seed investor’s fourth flagship fund.

A subsidiary of the UK government’s economic development bank, British Patient committed £20 million ($25 million; €23.3 million) to Connect Ventures Fund IV, which has closed on $80 million and expects to hold a final close later this year.

“Connect Ventures invests in some of the UK’s most promising early-stage companies to provide both the capital and operating expertise they need to help them scale and realize their full potential,” British Patient Capital CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre said in a statement. “This aligns closely with our mission of driving investment in innovative companies led by ambitious founders.”

Photo of Connect Ventures partners Pietro Bezza, Sitar Teli and Rory Stirling.
Making connections: (L-R) Pietro Bezza, Sitar Teli and Rory Stirling

Other LPs in Fund IV include Spanish investment firm Aldea Ventures, UK impact investor Big Society Capital, US family offices Cascade Investment and TwinFocus, Canadian investment firm Inovia Capital, UK venture firm Molten Ventures and funds-of-funds managers Sella Venture Partners and Top Tier Capital, according to Venture Capital Journal research.

Fund IV is on track to be the firm’s largest since its founding in 2012. Connect closed on €22 million for its debut, raised €50 million for Fund II in 2019 and brought in $80 million for Fund III in 2020.

Performance data is unavailable for the firm’s previous funds, but Crunchbase reports that Connect has exited 14 of the 126 investments it has made. Among the firm’s most notable exits, according to Crunchbase, are mobile game developer Space Ape, which was bought by Supercell in 2017 for about $56 million in stock; transportation app maker Citymapper, which was bought by Via in March for a reported $100 million in cash and stock; and banking platform developer Comma, which was acquired by Weavr in March for an undisclosed amount.

“With this new fund, we’re excited to add capital and resources to achieve our two goals with Connect: 1. back the best product founders to bring their visions to life and help them wildly succeed; 2. make our LPs a lot of money,” Connect partners Pietro Bezza, Rory Stirling and Sitar Teli wrote in a blog post.

In addition to the UK, Connect invests across Europe. It specializes in pre-seed and seed investments in product-driven companies in a variety of sectors, including B2B SaaS, fintech and healthcare.

“We’re looking for founders who are obsessed with product and have a clear strategy for creating ‘built-in’ distribution advantages and defensible moats, like PLG and network effects,” the partners wrote. “We’ve started to deploy Fund 4, and have already partnered with great teams building high potential companies in B2B Health (Stitch, Faks), generative AI (Carter, Embedd, Metavoice, Dust), B2B payment infrastructure (Sprinque), B2B SaaS (Ourspace) and developer tools (Plain).”