Approach

We invest £25-75k in early-stage creative companies, and support them with our experience and network.

In ustwo’s 15 years, we’ve learned that there is no single path to success. But there are things that make a difference in the end. Above all, we know that authenticity and values matter.

Adventure is our platform for backing founders and teams who understand this, and helping them on their journey.

There are six principles that guide our investments:

  1. 1

    Design as a force for good

    This is what ustwo is all about. We believe design and creativity can improve the world we live in. We want to support the next generation of founders doing just that.

  2. 2

    Real communities

    We love it when people are brought together through common bonds and purpose. It's collective genius in action. For us, community means engaged users, whose contribution goes beyond purchasing.

  3. 3

    Deep care

    For your product, your users, and your employees. We back genuine founders who have empathy and bring strong conviction to solve the problems they see.

  4. 4

    Inclusivity

    We are committed to building a portfolio of companies that reflects the world we live in, both in terms of the founders we back and how they create inclusivity when operating their own businesses.

  5. 5

    A golden thread

    We look to make investments that align with ustwo’s broader work and expertise. Healthcare, mobility, immersive technologies, games — these are some of the areas we know and love.

  6. 6

    Sustainable growth

    We're not looking for mega-scale. Instead we want to see realistic targets and credible, thoughtful milestones. To achieve this we're open to thinking differently about how we invest.

We partner closely with our portfolio — offering our support and guidance beyond investment, to foster growth in a way that works for them.

A belief factory

You may come for the capital, but we want you to stay for the belief. We offer the perspective and support to help you forge your path.

A flexible view on growth

The way companies grow is changing, and venture capital isn’t the best fit for everyone. We invest via revenue-share agreements alongside traditional equity, whichever is right for you.

A community of experts

ustwo is home to over 250 designers, developers, strategists and operators. We’re here to bring that expertise to bear and expand your thinking around what’s next.

Do you want some money?

If you’d like to get in touch with us about an investment opportunity, please fill out the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Don't forget to also read our FAQs below.

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FAQs

Do you lead rounds?

No, we do not. And that is simply because most of the time a fundraising around is much bigger than the size of the investment we can make. We will instead rely on an institutional investor to negotiate a term sheet and decide to invest (or not) based on those terms.

What's your ideal stage for investment?

Always a tricky question because there is no perfect answer. We would typically expect companies to at least reached these milestones:

— Product: You have built and launched your product, even if it is a Minimum Viable Product.

— Revenue: You have paying customers (ideally paying full price). A good indication of traction would be at least £5,000 of monthly recurring revenue.

— Team: You and your co-founders (if you have any) have committed to full-time working in the business. You may have even made your first hire(s).

Like every investor, we will occasionally invest into companies that don't fit these guidelines. We will also invest in later stage companies, but we know that at some point our size check simply doesn't do enough to move the needle in raising a larger round.

Do you invest in {location}?

For the most part, we invest in the United Kingdom. However, we are open to investing in other places, particularly if we also have an ustwo presence (US, Australia, Sweden). As a relatively small investor, the main thing for us is understanding the legal jurisdiction.

What's your investment process?

The generic process looks something like this:

1. Company applies for funding

2. We review the materials

3. If there is a clear initial fit, we'll have a call or meeting to understand the company, the founders, and the current funding situation

4. If we confirm there is a strong fit with our criteria and we can make a meaningful contribution to the funding round, we will begin due diligence.

5. If the due diligence is promising, we will create an internal investment memo that is shared with the ustwo board for comments and feedback.

6. If the board is supportive, then we will ask if we can invest!

It's hard to predict how long this takes. Every company and every round is different. We can do steps 2 and 3 quickly. Steps 4 and 5 can take a bit longer, especially if the round hasn't quite come together. Step 6 usually takes about a week.

Do you do follow on investments?

We have very limited budget for following on, so we tell companies that it is not something that they should necessarily expect from us. We by no means want that to be a negative signal for their future investors and we will always be happy to talk to prospective investors about that.

That said, we have followed on as and when our budget allows and where there is a really strong fit with business performance and our area of expertise.

How big is your fund?

Technically, we don't operate a fund. The investments we make are funded, as they say, from balance sheet. We go through a budgeting process every year to determine how much capital we can invest, and that amount has historically ranged from £250-500k. As such, given our investment size, we are looking at making up to 10 investments a year, but a few of those may be following on in existing portfolio companies.

How are your investments usually structured?

To date, we've predominantly invested in the usual venture formats: equity, convertible loan notes, SAFEs or ASAs.

More recently, we have also participated in structures championed by the likes of Earnest Capital and Indie VC, who have crafted instruments that incentivise profitable, sustainable businesses with equity conversion mechanisms that allow for venture funding in the future. We are excited to continue to develop experience with these structures.

Does ustwo provide design services and support as part of the investment?

The short answer is no. The best way to think about our support is as advisors rather than delivery partners. We will do all we can to help you access expertise across our network of employees for targeted advice and perspective. But we are unable to stand up product teams to support our investments.

Do you take a board seat?

Generally, no. Partly because we rarely have a position large enough to warrant one. But more philosophically, we are not in the investment game to exert control over entrepreneurs. We prefer to build a rapport of trust and support that is outside formal designations.

Do you do work-for-equity arrangements?

Not within ustwo Adventure. Our studio group has completed a handful of these arrangements with clients over the years, but these are done on a very case-by-case basis.