Why We Invested: Ada Ventures

As Ada Ventures announce the close of Ada 1 LP, we are delighted to share background on why we invested earlier this year.

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Written by

Joe Shamash, Investment Director

At Big Society Capital, our venture investments seek to nurture and scale innovative ways of tackling social problems. We believe with the right support, purpose-led startups can deliver strong financial returns and meaningful social impact, at scale. At the heart of this, are values-aligned venture investors, who are thoughtful about impact and bring deep expertise in venture investing.

Ada Ventures share this belief and have placed it at the centre of their strategy to make venture capital more accessible to the best talent in the UK and Europe, regardless of geography, race, gender or background.

Ada is a VC firm investing at pre-seed and seed stage into ‘overlooked founders’ and ventures in underserved markets. It was co-founded by Check Warner and Matt Penneycard, who have a combined 18 years of experience investing in early-stage companies. Previous investments include: Papier, Trouva, and Move GB. Separately, Check is the co-founder of Diversity VC, a non-profit organisation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in venture capital.

Ada operates on an ‘Open Venture’ thesis, that actively seeks out ventures by and for underserved founders and markets, such as women, LGBTQ+, BAME, and founders outside of London. Ada focuses on businesses seeking positive impact on a global scale, particularly in health, consumer tech and sustainability. For us, this offers potential for positive social impact through essential services that are more inclusive and relevant to groups that are often marginalised. It also provides a blueprint for making venture investment more accessible to the underserved communities who best understand many of society’s biggest challenges.

Ada has so far invested in eight companies this year, tackling issues including mental health, obesity, workers’ rights and affordable childcare. During a year of great uncertainty, Ada's portfolio has made good progress. For example, e-commerce supply chain management company Huboo completed a successful £14 million Series A fundraise and digital childcare platform Bubble delivered tens of thousands of hours of free childcare to NHS staff. Meanwhile, worker-driven network platform Organise grew its members from 70,000 to more than 900,000, and successfully campaigned for the Government to provide support for the self-employed during Covid-19.

We are excited to see Ada’s portfolio grow in 2021 and look forward to an impactful relationship with the team over the years to come.

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