You’ve been with Claret for just over 2 years, how have you found your experience to date?
Yes, I joined in June 2019 with a lot changing since then of course! My experience has been really interesting so far and have been lucky enough to work on a wide range of deals across a number of sectors. To date I’ve worked on 12 completed deals with another 3 in the process of closing so it’s been really active despite the uncertainty of COVID in 2020.
We have a pretty flat structure in the investment team which has luckily meant I’ve got to be involved across all aspects of the deal process from pre-screening through to the closing dinner!
What have been some of the more interesting deals you’ve worked on so far and why?
Two deals that stand out so far have been Paysend and Butternut Box which were both deals from our second fund. Paysend is a payments platform which has built a really compelling product for individuals or businesses who do international money transfers along with now a wealth of other services. They are really addressing a market that has historically been characterized by poor customer experience and uncompetitive FX rates.
Butternut Box is a subscription-based dog food company that is providing pre-cooked fresh meals to dog owners. They’ve been very successful with their go to market strategy and have a very impressive NPS. I think the wider humanization of pets is a very interesting area with people really spending a lot more on their pets over the last few years.
What changes have you noticed from VCs in the past 18 months?
Everyone would agree that there is a lot of cash in the market at the moment which is leading to pretty eye watering valuations. As an investment team, we interact with a lot of the leading VCs across Europe and the consensus is that the top quartile companies will command super premium valuations for a pro longed period.
Overall from a venture debt perspective it has become more competitive over the last 18 months as we’re now competing against not only specialist debt providers but also an buoyant equity market. However, the use cases and benefits of venture debt still remain as strong as ever with a lot of our portfolio companies realizing significant EV uplifts as a result of taking venture debt.
Which sector currently excites you the most and what do you think are the tailwinds driving growth in that sector?
The wider e-commerce sector is definitely very exciting at the moment. We’ve seen some really impressive growth and funding towards sectors that either support or roll up e-commerce companies.
Naturally COVID has been a strong tailwind towards growth in online shopping and this is only really going to continue. Its always interesting to see how companies are managing to accelerate their growth and hopefully from a profitable unit economic standpoint.
And finally favourite book you’ve read during the summer?
The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall. Must read.