Introducing: Match Capital
Welcome to my first ever blog post.
My name is Peter Walsh. I am 50 years old, with a patient wife, two sons who are bigger and tougher than me, and two adoring dogs, who still wag their tails when I appear. I have started blogging and #tagging. I even have a Klout score, but haven’t quite got to wearing flip-flops and hoodies to work. Why am I doing this now, when I should be working out what kind of retirement annuity I can buy? Because I want to be an innovator, and an entrepreneur. It’s never too late to start, is it?
The journey to this ‘pivot’, (yes, I now know what that means too!), started in late 2010. After 25 years in the City, and somewhat jaded, (not to mention too old for the Wolf of Wall Street lifestyle), I happened across the world of Venture Capital. By luck, rather than by judgement, I had invested in a technology start-up called Polecat, which was run by some very clever ex-Microsoft ‘techies’. Polecat is a business intelligence technology company – analysing large data sets, to help large corporates with reputational risk management issues. To prove their technology, Polecat had been working for a number of years with the TSB (not of the Lloyds variety, but the Technology Strategy Board) to ‘mine’ online public domain information, identify who were the innovators in the U.K., and determine who the TSB should be showcasing on sponsored trade missions to Silicon Valley…to ‘beat’ the British chest abroad.
Companies like Aquamarine Power, Huddle, Skimlinks and Xeros, (to name but a few) were identified through this process, and their CEOs ended up drinking beer with Kleiner Perkins in Michael Birch’s (he of Bebo fame) house bar in San Francisco. Who knew? The point was, that Britain was stuffed full of innovators, and entrepreneurs. It was just that no one had woken up to the fact yet.
That is, aside from VC funds such as Index, Balderton, MMC Ventures (and others who weren’t yet household names). City types generally reckoned on being “Masters of the Universe”, but these guys were growing up to be the genuine Rock Stars of the Venture Capital universe.
When I examined this new world, it seemed to me that there were plenty of innovators and plenty of money-men in the U.K., but how on earth did they find out about each other? It appeared that ‘networking events’ seemed to be the most familiar conduit, for this community to engage with each other, so I started attended a number. However I came away confused? Now I like a beer as much as the next guy, and I am happy to talk the hind legs off the Lamb of God, but I couldn’t see how a room full of strangers was an efficient way to meet a would-be investor, were I to be on the capital raising trail.
Fast forward to 2014, (a lifetime in technology land), but we got here in the end.
What we at Match Capital have worked hard to create is a platform which automatically identifies these money-men for the innovators. Without having to leave the comfort of their garage, kitchen, bedroom or shared workspace, innovators and entrepreneurs can see who is their most likely ‘match’ – using the data science and algorithms we have built into our platform. Using LinkedIn’s API (I am beginning to understand what an API is too!), our system shows the innovator how he or she is connected to their investor ‘match’, so the innovator can get a ‘warm introduction’ to that matched investor. Voila!
One day very soon, we will do a price comparison between attending networking events, and the associated Starbucks lattés, Pret A Manger sandwiches, Network Rail train tickets, and TFL Oyster Cards, (Oh, and beers!), against the price of a subscription to the Match Capital ‘dating’ website.
Who do you reckon will win?
Thank you for reading.