2ND CITY VC: What, Why & Who?

Why I started a Blog & Newsletter, what I'm trying to achieve with it, what is 2nd City VC and who am I? I'll answer all of this in my first post.

What Have I Noticed?

Graduating from The University of Bath, founding 2 startups, pitching for and receiving funding, getting opportunities within venture capital and playing semi-professional rugby… what did I notice?

Everything seems to be London-centric:

  • The quality and quantity of graduate jobs/internships is concentrated in London

  • Diversity in origin is lacking across VC, startups and universities

  • I was always known for my “Brummy” accent at university; I felt and saw there was an unconscious bias associated with this

  • It was harder to find news about startups and opportunities in my hometown and UK’s second city, Birmingham

  • Most industry events which I had to and wanted to attend required me purchasing an £80 ticket to travel to London

  • Speakers at events and webinars always seemed to be from London or based in London for work (especially in Venture Capital)

Why Is This Important?

The remote working shift due to COVID and the long-overdue push for diversity has highlighted to me that where you’re from should be celebrated and is no longer a barrier. People have realised that you can work from anywhere and (in theory) still get at least the same amount of work done as in the office/city; now is the time to promote startups outside of the capital who are championing the rest of the UK.

The mass adoption of Zoom means you can access investment, customers, networks and events from anywhere which breaks down many of the barriers which previously reduced diversity.

This isn’t a sob story for anyone not from London nor is it me complaining about my heritage; I am incredibly lucky to have grown up where I did, but a lack of diversity is certainly an issue across all industries (especially in venture capital) and I want to do my part in promoting it!

Therefore, I have decided to combine what I do every day with highlighting amazing founders and startups based outside London. Not only does this content fit a gap for promoting news and developments across the UK, but it will also enable me to keep in touch with the startup world and develop my own perspective.

This doesn’t mean that I am discriminating London based startups or founders; if there is something cool I want to write about from London, I’ll cover it. The general theme, however, will be based around the rest of the UK, focussing on my hometown (and UKs second city) Birmingham and South Wales (where The Alacrity Foundation is based, read below!).

If this sounds interesting and you want to keep up to date, please use the link below!

Who Am I?

Who am I and why is my opinion even relevant? Fair point… in all honesty, I can see why people would only read content from people who have achieved amazing things and have the experience that makes the content they write special.

Let me give you a brief intro of who I am, what I’ve done so far and what I plan to do, so you have a bit of context and can decide whether you want to subscribe or follow this blog:

  • Graduated with a BEng in Civil Engineering from The University of Bath (top 3 in the UK for Civ Eng) in 2020 ( with a 1st class degree, touch wood…)

  • Diagnosed with dyslexia which impacts my cognitive skills

  • 24 months + of professional work experience as a student across multiple industries in both part-time & full-time roles including

    • AECOM (Fortune 200 engineering consultancy, Birmingham)

    • BlockSmart Consulting (Blockchain startup in Bali, Indonesia)

    • Various nightclubs as a doorman (“Bouncer” in Bath)

  • Founded an SEO Consultancy (FortitudeSEO), which turned over ~£1000/month after 3-months and merged with a social media marketing agency (Social 90), which turns over high 4-figure monthly revenue.

  • Founded an ed-tech startup (CONNEX) which got funding from Santander Universities and pitched at The F Factor Regional Finals. CONNEX aims to improve the employability of students regardless of their socioeconomic background and degree.

  • Future VC 2020 Summer Intern (remote), program designed to increase diversity within venture capital through networking, masterclasses and mentorship

  • Joined a startup incubator/educational program in September 2020 at The Alacrity Foundation (Funded by Welsh and UK Governments and Wesley Clover), where I launched <a href=”https://recovar.co.uk/">RECOVAR</a>.

  • Played semi-professional rugby in the National Leagues

  • Interviewed in several podcasts including:

  • Reader and listener of a variety of different books and blogs about business and startups including:

  • Completed several online courses including

    • Entrepreneurship in developing economies: Harvard Business School

    • The complete Python developer: Zero To Mastery

    • Fundamentals of digital marketing: Google

    • The Complete Introduction To Accounting and Finance: Udemy

  • Daily “poster” on LinkedIn and all-round “keen bean”

So yeah… I’ve done a range of things at the age of 22 and I can’t wait to work towards my long and short term goals! This blog will be taken through all of the journey.

What have I got planned?

Over the next few months, you can expect to read about:

  • Google for Startup pitch days + interviews and my thoughts/findings off the back of the startups that pitch there

  • 3 Podcast episode premiers where I talk about COVID and its impact on business, young entrepreneurs, mental health and remote working in Bali

  • University results and my drone delivery dissertation

  • Interviews with representatives from Maven Capital Partners and Midven in the Midlands as well as amazing people from Future VC and Northstar Ventures

  • My journey through The Alacrity Foundation coding and business boot camps

  • The 3 books about VC and startups I’ve planned to read and the 50+ podcast episodes I’ll likely listen to

If you have any ideas or thoughts about things I should plan, please let me know!

The Goal…

The three main things that I want to achieve through this Blog & Newsletter are:

  • Meet amazing founders and startups

  • Develop my own perspective upon the startup and venture capital ecosystems

  • Promote startups, founders and opportunities in the UK’s second cities to help improve diversity and break down barriers in the startup & VC world

If this sounds interesting to you, please subscribe using the link below and/or follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube!

Thank you for reading, please send me feedback and questions to any of the above social media platforms or email henrypurchasehp@gmail.com