In addition to keeping you updated about all the great things that are going on at The Clubhouse, we thought we would turn the tables and put the focus on all the exciting things our fantastic members are achieving!
For our April ‘Member in the Spotlight’ feature we spoke to Mark Boggett, Managing Director, Seraphim Capital.
1. Tell us about your company.
Seraphim Capital is a London-based venture capital firm that invests in high growth, intellectual property-led businesses and disruptive technologies that have the potential to redefine large existing markets or create entirely new ones. The Seraphim team have collectively invested in over 180 companies across nine venture portfolios returning more than $1 billion to their
shareholders. Seraphim’s investments include Artificial Intelligence (computer vision, neural networks, machine learning), Internet of Things (software, sensors), Advanced Materials (polymers, semiconductors) and New Space (data analytics, nanosats).
2. What has been your biggest success so far?
Last year we sold portfolio company Testplant banking a 13x return. The business uses graphic image recognition technology and clever algorithms applied to software testing applications. This business was special to us as we helped to initially create it. TestPlant was formed in 2008 and funded by Seraphim and the buy-in team to acquire the technology and develop operations. The company went on to acquire more than 350 customers in over 40 countries across sectors including financial services, aerospace and defense, TMT, retail and healthcare. We sold the business to leading private equity firm The Carlyle Group and it continues to grow rapidly.
3. What project are you most excited about right now?
Last quarter we launched a new $100m venture fund called The Seraphim Space Fund. It’s the first fund of its size anywhere in the world to focus on investing in early-stage technology companies emerging from the ‘new space’ revolution. In the last decade, the cost of building and launching a satellite has fallen from c.$500m to less than $1m now. This change is largely due to rapid innovation in the smartphone market being applied to satellites to reduce their size, cost and weight by several orders of magnitude. A new breed of privately funded start-ups are emerging to exploit these cost advantages. The Fund will invest in these emerging market leaders that are using first mover advantage to build defensible positions.
4. How has being a member of The Clubhouse contributed to the success of your business?
We became a member in April 2013 and have extensively used The Clubhouse since. Raising $100m to invest into space technology is a tall order – it’s taken a lot of shoe leather meeting investors from the UK, US, EU, Russia and the Middle East. Many of these meetings took place at The Clubhouse. Our guests always commented on the décor and professionalism of the staff – these details count. Investors use all sorts of signals during their due diligence and choice of venue makes a difference. seraphimcapital.co.uk
Quick Fire Round:
Favourite place to go in London?
StreetXO, 15 Old Burlington St, Mayfair – try their violet cocktails that are served in a glass as big as a spacemen’s helmet.
Who inspires you and why?
I can’t choose between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – I love that these guys are now privately financing the next space race.
Best bit of advice you’ve been given?
Never give up – it’s always darkest just before the dawn.
If you were on a desert island, what would you bring?
My family of course, we love a good beach holiday.
Which super power would you like to have?
The power to stem the flow of emails, even if just for a day!
What is the worst business ‘faux-pas’ you’ve committed?
As a career venture capitalist, I’ve been involved in a lot of failures, I mean a lot. In the past I’ve invested in people I didn’t rate – simply because the technology or proposition was amazing. Now I spend much more time evaluating the people – and, importantly I listen to my gut.