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Dancers Ava Holloway and Kennedy George at the Robert E Lee statue in Virginia. Photo: Julia Rendleman

When BACKED launched its first fund in 2015, the team consisted of two upstarts with good intentions and a dream. We believed in backing the optimists building a future we want to share; we believed in meritocracy; we believed that because our intentions were good, our investment decisions would be as fair as our outlook was rosy.

Fast forward to 2020: our portfolio founders were 89% male and 86% white. Our good intentions were not translating into equitable outcomes — and we refused to accept it.

In this memo, we want to share the learning curve our team has been…

BACKED | Visions, Predictions & Premonitions for 2030

Let’s face it. No one expected 2020. It kind of went off-road didn’t it.

But…the future is still unwritten. So while we stand at the cliff edge of this surreal year, we’re asking BACKED friends, futurists and provocateurs to share their wild predictions for the decade ahead.

Let’s roll.


Angel investor | Investor @ Founders Factory | BACKED Community

🧰 | My first ever job…

News team at CNBC (it was an internship to be fair). Most of my time was spent reading news alerts and making sure they were incorporated into the news anchors’ scripts, finding random video snippets in this massive physical video library that was absolutely freezing (actually freezing though) — They had to keep the temperature at like 10°C because of the equipment) and putting powder on guests who were going on the show. Riveting stuff.

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

My entire life is geeking out. I suppose the last…


Angel Investor, BACKED Community

In his own words, Stuart is a former ‘startup’er’ (founding team at Comufy, sold to, the team behind CandyCrush). He’s now an angel investor. He’s sector and geo agnostic, and has invested in ~80 companies to date.

🧰 | My first ever job…

I used to be a paperboy for Georgie Best (sadly, not the footballer), my local corner shop owner. Child labour at its finest…but the copious amounts of penny sweets we were given made it worthwhile.

The youth of today will never know the pain of getting up at 5:30am on a wet and cold December morning…

In the backyard with…Andy Shovel | Co-founder of THIS™ | Image McGill Collection


Co-founder of THIS

Andy is the co-founder of THIS™, the brand of plant-based meat alternative food products with industry-leading realism to meat in taste, appearance and texture. It’s unbelievably good.

🧰 | My first ever job…

I used to be one of those tedious clubbing photographers who would take a photo and then immediately thrust my ‘Capital VIP’ card into your hand, so you could go online and pay £3 to see how over-exposed I made your face in 2004 Photoshop.

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

Just opened my phone’s browser and it was…how to use hydrogen peroxide to…


VP Global Community & Belonging Brandwatch, Founder & CEO Hustle Crew, BACKED Community

🧰 | My first ever job…

Technically my first invoice was for acting in a Radio 4 play whilst at school. It was so fun taking a day trip to BBC Maida Vale!

🧠 | The last thing I geeked out about…

bell hooks! I just went down the Youtube rabbit hole hearing her take on how we’re all socialised to perpetuate inequality and discrimination. Watch this.

🔎 | I want to learn more about…

Shame. I love Brene Brown’s research on shame. I think it’s a real blocker for people when it comes to the work I do educating…


Creative Director, Designer, BACKED Community

🧰 | My first ever job…

The first ever job I had was as an engineer in a hospital. I used to go around and fix whatever people needed. In my first week I was replacing a computer in an operating theatre when somebody got rushed in for surgery. I had to change into the scrubs and everything to keep working while they did their thing. I had just turned 17 too. It’s pretty difficult to care about installing Windows 7 Enterprise Edition when there’s a room full of doctors and nurses giving blood transfusions and emergency oxygen.

🧠 |…

BACKED People & Culture Series

What are they and should you offer them to your employees?

This article is by Jonny Burch. He’s a BACKED Scout and Founder/CEO of Progression, a product to help you define and measure career growth for your team.

Jonny Burch is a BACKED Scout and Founder/CEO of Progression. Watch him talking about Parallel Tracks here.

A lot of people who start using Progression, or who talk to us about setting up their progression framework, ask about whether they should have ‘parallel tracks’.

Broadly what they mean by that is: ‘should we have separate ladders for our managers and non managers?’

What’s quite typical traditionally is that you only have one ladder. …


We’re the human-centric European VC fund. Put People First • Be An Apprentice • Push the Limits • Bring Good Energy. Since 2015.

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