Dragons' Den investor Steven Bartlett launches £81m fund to back high growth start-ups

Dragons' Den investor Steven Bartlett launches £81m fund to back high growth start-ups
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 19th Jan 2023

Steven Barlett, star of TV's Dragons' Den and founder of Social Chain, has launched a new fund to invest in high growth businesses across Europe.

The $100m (£81m) Flight Story Fund will invest $1m - $10m in commerce, biotech, technology, blockchain, health and space start-ups with the potential to reach a $1bn valuation, so-called unicorn status.

Discussing the fund, Barlett said:

"Throughout the last decade, I developed an immense network of the most successful entrepreneurs in Europe. Flight Story Fund connects the founders to the investment and tools they need to catapult them through their growth trajectory to accelerate their timeline to unicorn status.

"I've been on the journey myself and now I am helping other skilled founders succeed in the same way. The launch of the Flight Story Fund is an invitation to Europe's best entrepreneurs from Europe's best companies - come and take flight with us."

The fund is backed by successful individuals who have contributed around $1m each. Bartlett told The Times they include Alan Barratt, founder of nutrition business Grenade, and biotechnology investor Christian Angermayer.

Speaking to Sifted, he said he got around 1,000 enquiries from entrepreneurs last month for investment or support, before adding:

"If we don’t back the next female-founded unicorn in the next decade, I would consider myself a failure with this fund."

Aged 21, Barlett founded social media agency Social Chain. It went public six years later with a valuation of $600m (£486m).

He is now an investor with more than 20 investments in companies including high protein drinks brand Huel and German aerospace company Isar Aerospace.

In 2021 Bartlett joined BBC TV's Dragons' Den as the show's youngest ever Dragon. He is also the presenter of The Diary of a CEO, Europe's most downloaded business podcast.

Related content:

Webinar: Goal-setting with Steven Bartlett - How to turn business ideas into action

10 entrepreneurial lessons from Steven Barlett

Watch a live stream of the keynote stage from StartUp Show on 28 January

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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