Funding Stories: John Hill co-founder of Silico
Funding Stories is a blog series that shares real-life funding experiences from our portfolio founders. Raising a round can be tough. It doesn’t always follow a linear path and it takes time and perseverance.
At Forward, we want to give founders their best shot at success, so we hope that by sharing these funding experiences from our portfolio companies we give other entrepreneurs and founders valuable insights from those who’ve been before them.
Meet Silico. Silico is leveraging AI to help enterprises making informed decisions. Often working with large volumes of data, there is a high degree of risk involved in important business decisions. Silico helps manage these risks, as it empowers organisations to continuously test the impact of different outcomes in a ‘risk-free’ simulation environment before they make changes in the real world.
John Hill is the co-founder and CEO of Silico. He started his career building simulation models at the Bank of England before leaving the public sector behind to explore the world of startups. With an MSc in Computer Science from UCL, John has published work in top tier academic journals and co-authored two patents in the field of computational simulation.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Chris & I met at a previous startup (Simudyne) as early employees. We both have a deep background in the simulation space. We started Silico having seen a dearth of easy-to-use simulation tools, we felt that there was an opportunity to fill that gap and build a tool for better decision-making using simulation & AI for the enterprise market.
What's your funding story so far?
Our first capital came from some Angels and an accelerator (Founders Factory) which we joined in April 2020. Following completion of the accelerator we raised our pre-seed round in Dec 2020 which was led by Forward Partners and totalled £1.1 million. We have recently closed a £3.4 million Seed Round led by Join Capital out of Berlin with follow-on participation from Forward Partners and a handful of experienced Angels.
What fundraising tips would you give other founders who are looking to raise money?
Embrace the no. You will get a lot of nos. Learn to seek your validation outside of the fundraising process. If you are building a great business then the yes will come. There are many reasons a fund gives you a no and most of them are not a reflection on you or your business. Listen with an open mind - within the conversations you will get kernels of wisdom or glimpses of patterns which you can use to build a better (and more fundable) business.
Most of all, look after yourself - fundraising is psychologically intense and can be quite gruelling. Embrace the challenge.
What's next for your company?
We've already doubled the team size since closing the round. We closed our first Enterprise customers early this year so we are doubling down on our commercial efforts - initially here in the UK and across mainland Europe. We're also focussing on product development and solidifying our engineering foundations as customers push the limits of Silico and find new applications for it.
Once we've nailed our go-to-market and built a repeatable sales process, the next plan would be US expansion following a prospective Series A.
Looking to write your own funding story? We’d love to hear from you. You can apply for funding here or get involved with our new Office Hours here.
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