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Ada Ventures raises £36m second fund to back more diverse founders

Backers include the British Business Bank and Taavet Hinrikus's Taavet+Sten fund.

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Check Warner/Diversity VC.

The venture capital firm started by Diversity VC founder Check Warner has launched its second fund after raising £36m from investors including the British Business Bank and Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Ada Ventures was launched in 2019 and seeks to invest both in startups which may have been overlooked, and those which target audiences overlooked by traditional venture capital investment.

Among the portfolio companies from its first £27m fund are CIRCA5000, an ethical pensions platform, and Huboo, an eCommerce fulfilment provider that has gone on to raise a £60m Series B.

“For all of the innovation in the industry, there is nowhere near enough innovation in VC,” said Check Warner, founding partner of Ada Ventures.

“We are constantly working to improve our deal-sourcing programmes and methodology, but we are proud to say that it is fairer, it works towards creating fairer access to VC funding, and it leads to phenomenal returns. It works, and it’s great to see the LP community recognising that.”

Unlike traditional VCs, Ada Ventures doesn’t only source investment deals directly, but also has a network of 100 scouts who are active in under-represented communities.

These Ada Scouts are compensated with both a fee and share of carried interest, and their involvement is designed to remove the need for a ‘warm introduction’ which often disadvantages under-represented founders.

Nine of the 28 investments from Ada Ventures first fund came through its scout network, and the VC also launched an angel network in 2020 designed to bring more diverse people into angel investing.

Among the other LPs backing Ada’s second fund are Plexo Capital, the University of Edinburgh, Taavet+Sten and the co-founders of Supercell.

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