2022 - the year of resilience
Dear all, Blue Lake was envisaged three years ago by two Ukraine-born and London-based immigrants Lyubov Guk and David Gilgur as the harbour for the best and brightest international startups coming to the UK. We came a long way since, but one thing that has not change is that we still get asked - ‘Why immigrant founders?’ There is an obvious social component, as we benefit from an incredibly diverse mix of founders, but the real answer is much simpler. This approach sets us at the source of the self-selecting, high-quality talent moving into one of the largest tech-ecosystems in the world. These founders tend to share the same traits as the Blue Lake team. Tenacity. Resilience. Adaptability, are the traits we believe to be critical for any early-stage startup.
(Re) Meet The Blue Lake Team
Most of the people reading this email are familiar with GPs of Blue Lake Lyubov and myself, but if we are yet to meet or you want to find out more about what drives us please see Lyuba’s profile that was recently published by Newton Venture Programme.
What Have We Been Up To In 2022? The start of the year was a rocky one to put it very mildly. The war in Ukraine, where both of us had families, was a blow. The lesser problem was the loss of LPs who were like us affected by the war. We got our families out of the country, rebuild the LP base and are now finishing the year on a high.
Over the past 12 months, we completed 4 syndicate investments, with the total amount of £550,000. All of these were at the Seed and Pre-Seed stages validating our focus on the international founders in the UK as a source of dealflow.
Most of our startups made exceptional progress. I am limited in what data I can share but happy to offer more details in a private conversation. The highlights include:
One of the startups trebled ARR from last year from £450K to over £1.5M.
First major international client and a growing domestic client base for another portfolio startup.
Team & Blue Lake News
Blue Lake made its first appearance in Atomico’s State of European Tech 2022 report. As a team, we are not big on awards or publicity, but after all the hard work we put in, it is nice to be recognised by the bible of European venture capital publications.
Not to steal Atomico’s thunder but I wanted to share a few thoughts. Coming to the end of 2023 the VC industry finds itself in a state of flux, and we are loving it. At Blue Lake, our thesis was always that (outside of truly deep tech vertices) technology should come second to the product. ‘Your startup is Web3? That’s nice, but what is it that you actually do?’ - has always been our approach. The market seems to have caught up with our thinking and prodded back into rationality by the combination of inflation, interest rates and the string of never-ending crypto scandals. What does mean for us? Not much. As a very early-stage VC we have seen only a slight dip in valuations and investment activity. The later rounds are more challenging but at Blue Lake, through our network, we are well-positioned to support our startups with their Seed and A rounds. By the time our portfolio has matured the later-stage markets will be back.
What is Next?
For Blue Lake team 2022 has been the year of laying out the foundation. We build up the dealflow and expanded startup support. 2023 is the year of taking things to a completely different level with Fund I.
Finally we want to wish very happy holidays from the entire Blue Lake team!
Best regards Lyubov, David, Moritz