The US Scout Program Has Over 200 Business Investments So Far
The VC has been inviting startup founders and executives to join its “Starters,” and so far the company has on-boarded 21 scouts, including Personio co-founder Hanno Renner, Georgie Smallwood, chief product officer at scooter operator Tier; Monzo’s former vice president Tristan Thomas; and Julien Lemoine, co-founder, and CTO at SaaS platform Algolia.
Accel first introduced its scout program in the United States in 2017. Now, the VC business has three associates, which have backed over 200 companies. Its scout program in Europe is quite similar to the one in the US.
Luca Bocchio, a partner at Accel and head of the program along with fellow partner Andrei Brasoveanu, says the scout program is very flexible by design.
“There’s no minimum quota of investments they need to do, and they can decide the speed and frequency of them.”
Accel’s massive capital comes from its new $575 million European fund it raised in 2019. Scouts also receive certain “economic benefits,” including certain upsides if a startup company they backed delivers strong business growth.
Until now, the scouts have invested across various sectors, including developer tools and fertility, augmented reality (AR) and logistics, fertility startup Oviavo, and investment company Heyfina. Accel also backed startups like cardiac analysis company Idoven.
“We’re seeing some investment in areas which are not the ones we’re spending a tonne of time on at seed-stage. Our starters community is taking our interest towards areas we didn’t know existed,” Bocchio adds.
“The European ecosystem has clearly matured, but even in the most developed hubs, there’s a lack of good operators who’ve been part of great startup stories already,” Bocchio added.
The program also helps VC to expand its geographical footprint as the current 21 scouts are scattered across 12 cities and 10 countries. Accel’s cohort includes Deliveroo’s director of engineering Rahma Javed; co-founder and chief executive of Sennder David Nothacker; Dan Oros, who is the head of marketing at Google and YouTube in Romania; and Humberto Ayres Pereira, founder and CEO of Rows, among others.
However, the impact those 21 angel investors can make is still limited as you can’t build an ecosystem “overnight,” said Brasoveanu. This business sector is still in its early innings and the “non-founder population doesn’t have much awareness of angel investing,” which is a type of investing in a startup company.
Brasoveanu also emphasized the importance of government support for such initiatives, praising the United Kingdom’s SEIS and EIS programs, which have contributed to the increase in popularity of angel investing in the country compared to continental Europe.
The US-based VC business giant Accel has launched its scout program in Europe, through which it provides scouts with $200,000 to invest in any startup company they believe is primed to become successful. So far, 21 scouts have joined, while the US version of the program has already yielded over 200 business investments.
About the Author
Mariliana has an MSC in Consumer Analytics and Business Strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and Big Data.