COVID-19: We're Still Open For (Virtual) Business

We sincerely hope that you're all managing to keep safe and healthy during what are incredibly uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been affected, and we owe a tremendous amount to the frontline workers that are keeping our critical services running.

Coronavirus is having a greater impact on our personal and professional lives than markets, government and individuals were prepared for. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago there were only 500 cases of coronavirus globally, and currently, at the time of writing, this has increased 700x, as we quickly approach 350,000 cases worldwide.

Many lives are at a risk, and as a society, we owe a tremendous amount to the frontline workers that are keeping our critical services running. It’s important to understand that although business is incredibly challenging for us all at the moment, being able to take your work home and have your income relatively uninterrupted is a luxury.

Small and medium-sized businesses account for over 99% of the business population and are acutely affected by the widespread disruption. Many early-stage startup founders have had to mobilise contingency plans in light of limited cash runways and uncertainty around whether they’ll be able to successfully raise a new round of funds in this current climate.

So, we’d like to let founders know that we are still open for (virtual) business. We’re actively looking for new and exciting startups to invest in, as well as working hard to support our current portfolio, and will be doing all of this whilst following the recommended protocols.

If you were thinking about pitching to us, read on to learn how we’ll be working going forward.

How we'll be working

We’re still doing deals

Forward Partners are still actively looking for new companies to invest in at pre-seed and seed (cheques of ~£300k to £2m). In fact, we are yet to see a dip in our weekly dealflow and are closing a deal as we speak. We hope that remains the same, and encourage founders to continue to reach out to us.

There has been an update to our investment process in light of COVID-19 which is detailed below:

  • Apply for investment here
  • Stage 1: If successful, you’ll have an initial Zoom call with lead investor
  • Stage 2: Second Zoom call with lead investor and investment partner
  • Stage 3: Third meeting will be held in person if possible with all necessary precautions taken (deep cleaned office, safe distancing, subsidized private travel etc)
  • Final stage: Issue termsheets.

We will continue to move quickly in the deal process and founders can usually expect a turnaround within weeks.

Office Hours

We use Office Hours to meet pre-seed companies who are looking for advice and investment. We will move to a virtual format so the process will now be as below:

  • Apply to Office Hours via this link
  • On success, you will receive an email inviting you to a virtual meeting
  • Virtual meetings will be 20 minutes instead of 15 to accommodate for any technical hitches
  • Successful Office Hours companies will move into the new deal process listed above.

Our next Office Hours is Data in Healthcare on the 26th March, and our next general Office Hours is on April 30th.

The Founders Programme

The Founders Programme is an equity-free course for idea-stage founders to receive advice and potential investment from experts here at Forward Partners. For more information please check out this link.

The Founders Programme will be kicking off as planned on April 6th, however, we will now be holding workshops virtually. Keep the applications coming in, and we’ll be in touch with all applicants shortly to share full details of the virtual schedule!

Studio Team

Our Studio is an in-house team of experienced operators that work closely with our portfolio companies to help them design, build and grow their businesses. Their skills span customer research, experience design, visual design, brand, marcomms, technology, and talent.

The studio team operates on a not-for-profit basis, and up until now have been 100% dedicated to our portfolio companies. However, given recent events, we would like to open the doors to help other companies in need of support over the coming months. This would be on the same not-for-profit basis as we offer our companies.

For further information, please contact thestudio@forwardpartners.com.

Louise started out as a medical doctor and has experience in a number of medical and surgical specialities. She has undertaken research in a world-class laboratory, is published in an international medical journal and has presented work at multiple national and international conferences.

Following this, she joined Entrepreneur First where she developed a healthcare communication platform.

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