Eka Ventures becomes the largest impact-driven early stage venture capital fund in the UK as it closes at £68m ($95m)

Press release 13 July 2021

  • Eka Ventures is an early stage venture fund that is integrating impact investing into mainstream venture capital
  • The firm will invest in category-defining consumer technology companies that positively shape the world, making it more sustainable, healthy and inclusive.
  • Eka’s team has strong expertise in backing consumer-tech companies such as Gousto and Bloom&Wild
  • Investors in the fund include British Business Bank, Big Society Capital, Isomer Capital, further institutions and technology entrepreneurs, including 12 founders the Eka partners previously backed

Eka Ventures today announces that it has had a final close on a £68m ($95m) fund, making it the largest impact-driven early stage venture capital fund focused on the UK. Investors in the fund include British Business Bank, BSC, Isomer, Guys and St Thomas Foundation, Planet First Partners, Draper Esprit, Snowball and others, including 24 entrepreneurs, 12 of whom are founders the Eka partners have previously backed.

Eka was founded on the belief that the most successful businesses of the next generation will be built to solve a clear social or environmental challenge and is integrating impact investing into mainstream venture capital.

Eka will invest in consumer technology companies focused on redefining business systems to be more sustainable, healthy and inclusive. This is reflected in Eka’s three investment themes: sustainable consumption, consumer healthcare, and the inclusive economy. The fund will focus on the UK, invest early and lead rounds, making investments between £500k-3m.

Eka was founded by Jon Coker, Camilla Dolan and Andrew Richardson. The founding team has a combined 30+ years of experience working in venture capital, and has backed some of the biggest and most exciting consumer tech companies of the last 10 years, including Gousto, Bloom&Wild, Peak and Elder.

The fund focuses on three key areas: sustainable consumption, consumer healthcare, and the inclusive economy.

Sustainable consumption: reducing emissions, waste and resource use through more efficient, circular consumption models and supply chains.

Our current consumption models are linear and inefficient creating unsustainable levels of emissions, waste and environmental degradation. 66% of global carbon emissions are created by household consumption, and a developed world consumer creates 3.5x the global average. We believe a combination of software, hardware and data science can change these models to be low waste and resource-efficient.

Consumer healthcare: reducing chronic illness and health inequality through prevention, early detection and low impact treatment methodologies.

Our treatment focused health systems are creaking under the pressures of ageing demographics and rising chronic disease. Currently, 95% of healthcare spend is on treatment rather than prevention but the quality of the treatment you receive only determines 25% of your health. We believe technology has now reached a cost point to put products in the hands of the consumer that can shift to a more proactive & preventative system.

Inclusive Economy: Reducing expenditure poverty and financial exclusion by using technology to reduce the cost to serve in life-essential products.

Whole sections of our society find it hard to access essential products. 45 – 50% of our health is determined by socioeconomic factors and healthy life expectancy is 18.5 years shorter for the most disadvantaged in our society. We now have the technology to dramatically reduce the cost to serve making life essential products more accessible and affordable to everyone.

Over the next 20 years the effect our old business systems have on our health and climate is going to become increasingly and undeniably apparent. At the same time the power of our new technologies to meet, shape and change these old businesses systems can be realised in mainstream adoption. The combination of these two dynamics will create an environment of unparalleled opportunity for entrepreneurs to build companies of extraordinary value that positively shape the world. These are the entrepreneurs we set up Eka to back. Jon Coker General Partner of Eka
When it comes to working with companies, we are clear in our desire for scale, and we will do everything in our power to help the founders we work with achieve their ambitious goals. We are looking for entrepreneurs who set the bar for impact driven innovation high and who are focused on fundamentally changing or creating a category, in the same way Tesla has single-handedly propelled the electric vehicle industry forward. We set Eka up to back companies with that level of ambition Camilla Dolan General Partner of Eka
Jon and Camilla are two of the best investors a founder could possibly hope for. They supported Gousto with our Series A back in 2013 and have been cheerleaders ever since. Their new venture, Eka, is tightly aligned with our own philosophy because of their focus on sustainability. Much like them, we believe in the power of people to drive change. Timo Boldt Founder of Gousto
The Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is a key tool in helping to develop and maintain an effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting less well-served areas of the market. Our commitment of £36m to Eka Ventures, will enable them to support new and growing sustainable consumer technology businesses in the UK. Ken Cooper Managing Director, Venture Solutions, British Business Bank
It’s been hugely rewarding and exciting to work with Eka on developing their approach to investing with impact. The team brings a track record of successful VC investing and a thoughtful thesis on identifying areas where impact and commercial value are delivered in parallel. With an impact lens embedded into its core investment tools and decision making, we’re excited about Eka’s potential to create impactful ventures which tackle the problems of those most in need, at scale. Douglas Sloan Investment Director at Big Society Capital
We’re impressed by Eka’s focused investment strategy which addresses a rapidly growing opportunity in sustainable brands and B2C businesses. We’ve had the privilege of knowing the team for over ten years now and we’ve observed that they not only bring together significant experience and expertise to support companies as they scale, but also the passion and empathy that makes entrepreneurs want to work with them. Eka is a wonderful addition to our portfolio of over 40 early stage European VCs who all share an entrepreneurial mindset and partnership-driven approach. Catherine Dupéré Partner at Isomer Capital

Further Information

Notes to editors

About Eka VC

Eka Ventures is a $95m early stage venture fund that is integrating impact investing into mainstream venture capital. We believe the most successful businesses of the next generation will redefine our business systems to be more sustainable, healthier & inclusive. We invest in category-defining direct-to-consumer companies and the companies building technology that enables incumbent brands to make this change.

Eka was founded by three Partners, Jon Coker, Camilla Dolan and Andrew Richardson who have over 30 years of experience working in Venture Capital and have backed some of the biggest and most exciting Consumer tech companies of the last 10 years, including Gousto, Bloom&Wild, Interactive Investor, Peak and Elder.

About The Founding Partners of Eka VC

Camilla Dolan

Camilla has been investing in consumer technology companies from seed to growth since 2013.She has been fortunate enough to work with some extraordinary entrepreneurs at Bloom & Wild, Gousto and Elder, seeing them develop into emerging category leaders. She started her career at Bain & Company, enjoying time with them in London, Tokyo and San Francisco as well as being involved with developing WorldPay’s e-commerce proposition. She has a Law degree from Oxford University.

Jon Coker

Jon has spent the last 14 years investing at seed and Series A in fast growth consumer technology companies. Prior to starting Eka he spent 11 years at MMC Ventures from 2007 – 2018. He joined as an analyst, became head of the investment team in 2010, a Partner in 2012 and Co-Managing Partner in 2015. He led MMC’s investments in 14 companies, including Gousto, Bloom & Wild, Interactive Investor, Mubi, Cloudsense and Peak. He has an Engineering degree from Oxford University and technology has been the constant thread in his education and career.

Andrew Richardson

Andrew spent 8 incredible years at a mission-driven recruitment & consulting company called La Fosse. He was part of the early team there joining in 2011 when it was 10-20 people and leaving when it was over 200. He joined as an associate & became Head of Sales in 2014 and then finally in 2017 started a consultancy supporting post-seed/series A businesses within La Fosse. In 2018 he joined the board of FYXER, a young, rapidly growing people and tech business here in London.

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support over £8bn of finance to more than 93,000 smaller businesses . Between March 2020 and March 2021, the British Business Bank was responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering more than £75bn of finance to over 1.6m businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at british-business-bank.co.uk.

Enterprise Capital Funds are administered by British Business Finance Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc.