HomeInterviewsAda Ventures, Interview With Co-Founding Partner Check Warner

Ada Ventures, Interview With Co-Founding Partner Check Warner

Ada Ventures Co-Founding Partner Check Warner
Ada Ventures Co-Founding Partner Check Warner

Ada Ventures, a London, and Bristol, UK-based venture capital firm, closed a second fund, at GBP63M.

In conjunction with the announcement, Check Warner, the co-founding Partner of Ada Ventures, replied to our questions about the new vehicle, its strategy and targets, and shared with us some thoughts about founders and the tech landscape.

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

My name is Check Warner and I’m the co-founding Partner of Ada Ventures, the inclusive VC firm. I launched Ada Ventures, along with my co-founder Matt Penneycard, in 2019. I’m also the co-founder of Diversity VC. Prior to launching Ada, I was a Principal at Downing Ventures, although I actually began my career in advertising before moving to VC!

VCWire: Can you introduce your firm? 

At Ada Ventures, we find and fund extraordinary talent building breakthrough ideas for the hardest problems we face. We have developed and now pioneer an ‘Inclusive Alpha®’ approach to our investment decisions; a belief that backing ‘alpha’ ideas and founders can coexist with a commitment to inclusion. This investment strategy centres on the ability to beat the market using funds derived from an inclusive infrastructure and investing approach. We embed this commitment to inclusion at every stage of our investment process.

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

We made investments of between £250k and £1.5m in pre-seed and seed stage startups, with a focus on the UK. We invest across climate equity, economic empowerment and healthy ageing and have £120m in assets under management. 

VCWire: Beyond capital, how do you support startups?  

We are big believers in authentically supporting founders throughout their journey. This includes providing access to mental health support for founders and a European-first commitment to supporting parents in their portfolio with the cost of childcare. This initiative launched in October and has already been embraced by nearly 15% of our portfolio companies, which we’re delighted to see. 

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’re looking for diverse, passionate founders building breakthrough ideas for the hardest problems we face. Successful founders don’t fit a specific mould; talent and tenacity can come in many guises and we’ve designed our systems and sourcing methods (including our market leading Angel and Scout programmes) so that we don’t overlook potential. 

Having said that – I always love it when founders centre customers front and centre when they talk about their businesses. Being incredibly customer centric is a super skill that seems to correlate with founders who can build really compelling products for users.  

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

We’re proud of our whole portfolio. In fact, our Fund I portfolio – which includes Huboo, Boundless and Bubble – is on track to generate £100m of revenue in 2024. 

Organise is making it easier for workers to campaign for better rights at work. Spill is making mental health support more accessible. Greenworkx from our second fund is upskilling and reskilling people for the green jobs revolution. 

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

Increasingly we are finding the best founders are interested in solving massive problems for the world – for example, the climate crisis, the transition to net zero, the challenge of upskilling and reskilling people so that they can access higher paying jobs. Our team feels incredibly fortunate that we get to be part of enabling them to address these problems through breakthrough technology companies.