HomeInterviewsEpisode 1 Ventures, Interview With General Partner Hector Mason

Episode 1 Ventures, Interview With General Partner Hector Mason

Hector Mason
Hector Mason, GP, Episode 1 Ventures

Episode 1 Ventures, a London, UK-based early stage venture capital firm, has just announced the closing of its third fund, at £76m. In conjunction with the event, General Partner Hector Mason replied to our questions about the firm, the new vehicle and its strategy, the portfolio, and shared with us some thoughts about their activity and the future of the tech landscape.

VCWire: Hi Hector, can you please tell us a bit more about you? What’s your background? 

I’m Hector Mason, General Partner at Episode 1 Ventures. 

I’m a former serial entrepreneur. Having exited my software business in 2019, I joined Episode 1 as an investor, where I back early stage B2B founders. I’m also the co-host of the Riding Unicorns podcast, one of Europe’s leading VC podcasts, and I founded Focal, the leading open access demo day which receives over 4,000 applications per year from startups wanting to pitch to potential investors

VCWire: Can you introduce your firm? 

Episode 1 Ventures is one of the UK’s leading early-stage B2B investors. Our portfolio includes CarwowHubooCloudNCRaftRobin AIFatmap and Omnipresent. 

VCWire: Which is your overall strategy (geo/amount/sectors)?

We invest between £250k and £3m in pre-seed and seed stage startups, making between 10 to 15 investments per year in software-led companies operating primarily in the UK which focus on key areas including AI, TechBio, open-source, software infrastructure, healthtech and marketplaces.

VCWire: Beyond capital, how do you support startups?  

Episode 1’s targeted founder support includes: deploying Episode 1 team members into startups to help source senior hires; optimising portfolio companies’ future fundraises to set them up for a successful Series A; and offering hands-on support at critical points in the startup journey. 

VCWire: What do you like to see in founders?….And what don’t you like to see in them? I mean, is there something which impresses you at a first glance?    

We like founders who are truly passionate about what they’re building and have the grit and ambition to make their dream a reality. The people who have a unique insight which means they can build a product that few others can.

VCWire: Please, tell us a bit more about the portfolio. You can list five startups whose paths have made you particularly proud of.            

As a firm, we have seen some high-profile exits including Fatmap (acquired by Strava), Passfort (Moody’s), Feedr (Compass Group), Touch Surgery (Medtronic) and Atlas (Meta). It’s always a very proud moment as an early stage investor, as you’ve seen them through their whole scaling journey.

In addition, 73% of our portfolio companies have gone on to raise a Series A – this is ~3x higher than the average pre-seed and seed graduation rate and is something we’re really proud of.

VCWire: Which sector/s would you bet 2 cents on in the next five years?  

Whilst there’s a lot of hype around Generative AI, we’ve tended to avoid most of these startups as a lot of them have fairly thin use cases, particularly in the application layer. Instead, I think the real winners are going to emerge from the infrastructure layer which help enterprises adopt AI, or make existing software tools more powerful, essentially making all users power users. Anything that makes it easier for companies to use AI efficiently and effectively is interesting for investors like us.