Katie had been working on the deal team at Forward Partners for little over three months. In her role as investor, she was granted a huge amount of autonomy sourcing and executing deals from day one. Forward Partners is a London-based venture capital firm making its primary investments across the pre-Series A spectrum, from solo-founders to late-seed. Being on their deal team required aptitude on a number of axes. VCs have little information to analyse – which can be uncomfortable – and there was a certain amount of skill required in getting to the right reasons to say ‘yes’ to a deal. Katie had identified a potential target in the nascent ‘modelling and simulation as a service’ (MSaaS) space, where Korzan Systems was at the cutting edge. Despite the limited information available, ahead of her next meeting with the partners, Katie was required to research the market and develop her own thesis on Korzan as a potential investment by preparing a memo that could offer a balanced assessment on the opportunity with relatively little information to go on. During the next partners meeting, she would need to be ready to present her thoughts, analysis and findings on whether this was a go or no-go investment.
It is January 2010, following news that their investors have withdrawn £5 million of what would have been a critical injection of working capital, Ivan and Andrew travel up to Andrew’s home in Norfolk to take stock of the situation. With just £65 in the bank and £350,000 in cost of goods to settle by the end of the month, the VCs have pulled out at the worst possible moment. The MedicAnimal team now face a difficult trade-off between growth and profitability. Should they stay the course and continue to grow their multinational e-commerce business as well as expand into services? Or should they shut down their European operations to focus on the core UK business, making MedicAnimal profitable?
Founded by Ivan Retzignac and Andrew Bucher in 2007, MedicAnimal.com is an online retailer of pet supplies based in London, UK. Its product catalogue includes food, supplements, medicines and accessories with a particular focus on veterinary diets, prescription and nonprescription medicines and premium-quality products. Between 2008 and 2010, the company has grown its customer base and operations, and is well on its way to becoming a market leader within the five countries it operates. In order to fuel their next phase of growth, MedicAnimal is about to secure £5 million of venture capital investment, when something unexpected happens.