Our Investment Criteria

Give Yourself the Best Chance When Applying for Funding

Since announcing the news of closing our $15 Million VC fund with PFR Ventures, Group One and Brinc, we've had an amazing response of tech startups and accelerators contacting us with potential investment opportunities. We evaluate each and every one of these leads, deciding which ones to move to the next steps.

In this article we will describe what we are looking for in a company, and what the criteria are to apply. In a nutshell, we invest in early stage startups in Deep Tech, hardware and IoT sectors who focus on connectivity and sustainability. Our average ticket size is $250,000 - $500,000, and we can also participate in follow on rounds (investing up to $1,000 000 total per company). We only invest into Polish companies (or European companies with Polish business activity, such as a branch or team in Poland). This is a requirement for all our investments.

What We Look for

We’re looking for innovative technologies that will create positive impact on the world. We invest in companies building sustainable, profitable businesses that can demonstrate product market fit (a real market need that your product satisfies), technical feasibility and scalability, and some promising traction following validation of your target market. Above all, we are looking for experienced founders who are passionate about what they are creating, with a proven track record of success.

Areas We Find Interesting

Deep Tech is a broad term and includes many different verticals; we look for innovations with a physical aspect to the company (i.e. not just software/app based technology). We are open to all Deep Tech sectors, but we are particularly interested in:

  • IoT & Connected Hardware
  • Med Tech, Wellness & Digital Health
  • Food & Agricultural Tech
  • IoT+Media (Advertising & Marketing Tech)
  • Energy (clean energy, smart cities)
  • Mobility (transportation, logistics, last mile solutions)
  • Consumer Tech (connected hardware+big data)

Company Stage

We can participate from pre-seed until Series A rounds, and we are happy to co-invest together with another investor. Our focus is on pre-revenue companies, and those in pilot/testing phases. To be considered for investment, your company should already have:

  • A pitch deck/company presentation and one pager
  • A business plan & 3 year financial projection (P&L, sales forecast, any historical data if applicable)
  • Evidence of product market fit (validation of market need, desirability, tested via customer interviews/surveys/pilots customers)
  • Early traction (Letters of Intent, partnership agreements, a validated sales pipeline or pilot customers)
  • A complete, experienced founding team (the right blend of business skills, technical skills and industry expertise to execute successfully)
  • Target market data (TAM/SAM/SOM), a go-to-market strategy, Marketing plan and product roadmap

Product Stage

For us to invest into a company, it should fall into one of these 3 stages:

  • A Minimum Viable Product that has been tested with customers (or at least a looks-like/feels-like prototype that is ready for DFM)
  • Market-ready products that are gearing up to launch / mass manufacture, with pilot customers
  • Already in the market with paying customers, looking to grow and scale (generally this will apply to follow-on investment rounds for our existing portfolio).

To meet Arkley Brinc’s legal requirements, startups must meet the following criteria:

  • Early-stage / seed-stage company. We prefer to be the first institutional investor, but some previous funding grants, pre-seed money or accelerators/incubators is ok.
  • Building innovative technology in a Deep Tech sector (with a hardware or physical aspect)
  • Shareholding Company established within Poland or Europe (or willingness to relocate it): i.e. within the territory of the EU, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), or in a Member State of the European Economic Area
  • Business activity in Poland (such as a company branch, sales or development activities), or a willingness to open a Polish subsidiary with a meaningful purpose
  • Company valuation up to a maximum of $5 Million USD (later stage does not make sense for a fund of our size)

General Tips for Investor Relations

There are certain things you can do to ensure your investor relations run as smoothly as possible – and this applies to all interactions with VCs and potential investors, not only with Arkley Brinc VC!

  1. Be organised. Keep a spreadsheet of all the investors you have spoken to, and those you want to target. Keep a record of when you spoke to them, what information you have sent them (one pager, pitch deck etc) and when to follow up with them. Don’t let a lead go cold because you forgot to follow up!
  2. Be strategic. Do your research and find investors that are investing in (or at least interested in) your industry sector or category. Don’t waste time by contacting a VC who only invests in Med Tech with a new social media platform for gamers, for example. Make a shortlist of your best bets and spend your energy on convincing them.
  3. Be patient. You may have to reach out to 100 investors before you get a positive response. This is a numbers game. Don’t expect the first investor you pitch to be interested, or even the first 10. Put yourself out there as often as possible, and get exposure at pitch competitions or demo days when possible.
  4. Be honest. If you inflate your numbers, investors will soon find out. Be confident, but still humble, open to learn and transparent about your progress. Don’t tell lies to try to impress them.
  5. Be respectful. That means being on time to meetings, not interrupting, being open to constructive criticism. Investors don’t owe you anything - it’s up to you to convince them, not the other way round.
  6. Be prepared. You should know the key facts, KPIs and numbers about your company off the top of your head, and your materials should be ready to share upon request. When pitching, always bring a backup on USB in case your laptop is incompatible.

Asking the Right Questions

It’s a good idea to ask yourself some of the questions an investor might ask, to make sure you’re prepared. For example:

  • How big is your target market, and who is your initial customer segment?
  • By when do you expect to break even and become profitable?
  • What is the timeline and total cost to take your product to market?
  • What are your plans for internationalisation?
  • Which team members do you plan to hire in the next 12 months to scale up?

If you can’t answer these questions, you probably have a bit more work to do before approaching VCs!

Get in Touch With Us

If you’re a startup that meets the above criteria and you’re looking for investment, we’d love to hear from you! Please submit your startup via our online form for consideration. We try our best to respond to everyone within two weeks; we have many applications, so please bear with us!

Bryony Cooper

Managing Partner
November 26, 2018