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Accelerated Digital Ventures’ future is in flux after founders lose board seats

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Accelerated Digital Ventures’ future is in flux after founders lose board seats

The way forward for Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), the U.Okay. early-stage funding agency now majority owned by Legal & General, is in flux after three of its founders have misplaced their seat on the board, TechCrunch has discovered. ADV’s investments embody Push Doctor, Wefarm, and Perlego, amongst many others.

Rumours started circulating earlier this month inside the London startup neighborhood that three of ADV’s founders and members of the chief workforce, together with CEO Lee Strafford, had abruptly left the agency. Around two weeks in the past, I perceive that ADV portfolio corporations had been additionally knowledgeable that there had been administration adjustments on the agency, and that going ahead L&G’s managing director of principal investing (and ex-lawyer) Jasan Fitzpatrick can be their level of contact. A spokesperson for ADV declined to remark.

Regulatory filings with Companies House level to a few board terminations: CEO Stratford, COO Michael Dimelow and David Carr. All three are listed in LinkedIn as ADV co-founders, along with Andrew Sloane and David Fogel (who I perceive parted firm with ADV late final yr). They’ve been changed by Fitzpatrick, and L&G’s interim head of enterprise capital investing Marika Svardstrom and L&G’s CFO Stephen Halliwell.

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(Curiously, Keith Teare, who’s a founding shareholder of TechCrunch, was on ADV’s board up till September 2016 however is now listed as ADV’s U.S. Managing Partner.)

Meanwhile, the adjustments to ADV’s govt workforce aren’t wholly stunning. Originally based to deliver extra transparency and entry to early-stage enterprise capital within the U.Okay. — each from the founder and investor perspective — the agency pitched itself as an “evergreen” investor, co-investor and fund of funds backed by Woodford Investment Management (of Neil Woodford fame), L&G, the ADV administration workforce and U.Okay. tax-payer funded British Business Bank. However, final yr noticed Woodford promote its stake to L&G, leaving the monetary companies large as the bulk shareholder.

According to a number of sources, issues got here to a head after a disagreement by L&G and members of the ADV govt workforce round future technique and whether or not or not to herald extra exterior buyers. The two competing visions seem to have been persevering with to open up early-stage enterprise as an asset class by utilizing software program to assist scale that course of, or function as a extra conventional enterprise arm.

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However, whereas it’s straightforward to take a position which facet received, one supply tells me that the way forward for ADV stays unclear, each inside the agency and externally amongst its 40 plus portfolio corporations and wider ecosystem. A last determination will not be made public for not less than a couple of months, given how gradual corporates typically transfer. As all the time, watch this house.

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