Season’s Greetings across the world to all of our wonderful friends, entrepreneurs, BAT colleagues and portfolio companies, at this magical time of the year.
It’s been another remarkable year for BTV and, as always, I am grateful to have worked with so many inspiring people in the course of our work. That includes, of course, my incredible BTV team.
The run-up to Christmas and the New Year is always full of anticipation. But as we race towards 2023, it’s important for me to take a moment to look back as well as forward; to appreciate the milestones of 2022 as well as the opportunities that lie ahead for each and every one of us next year.
There are three words that, for me, sum up 2022 for BTV – those words are change, activism and collaboration.
The world is changing, always. Sometimes it does so in terrible and terrifying ways, as we have seen this year in Ukraine and elsewhere. But in better circumstances, change can bring opportunity too. This year we took the opportunity to change how people see us online with our new look website, which better reflects who we are and how we have evolved in the two-and-a-half years since our first investment. We saw change in our team too, with eight new colleagues, each of whom has brought with them their unique skills, experiences, and outlooks, to enrich us all.
Our portfolio changed in 2022 too, by growing. Not only did we continue to support our existing portfolio with 14 follow-on investments, we also completed five new investments. We welcomed Indonesian gummy company Youvit; UK-based online health and wellbeing company Feel; US-based Open Book Extracts (OBX) an ingredient manufacturer and product development house for cannabinoid-enabled products; vaporizer & access control tech company Kanvas, also from the US; and Parallel Dots, based in the US and India, which develops and provides image-recognition technology for retail.
This year we were delighted to announce two more successful exits from our portfolio companies - Brazilian logistics company, Uello, and UK based functional beverage company, Unrooted. We also changed from being fans to becoming sponsors, for the fantastic Clapham Feelers LGBT+ touch rugby team. You can see our name, and that of our portfolio company, Blockhead, on the team shirts.
Then there’s activism, and as a team we engaged in a number of projects and awareness-raising efforts, including Pride & Black History months. We seek every opportunity to push and strengthen our diversity (thank you Diversity VC for the guidance!) and ESG agendas, wherever possible.
BTV team members have also contributed on an individual level: Senior Legal Counsel, Peter Wozny, is active in several charities focused on the LGBT+ communities while our CFO in Residence, Fiona Kinghorn, competed in a three-day eventing challenge to raise money for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal; and our Senior Investment Associate, Sam Barton-Bridges, raised money and awareness during Movember, to name just a few.
But of course, we are nothing without other people. Or, as I first heard it said in Zulu ‘umuntu Ngumuntu Nubantu.’ And that’s why ‘collaboration’ also sums up 2022 for BTV.
So thank you to our fabulous and supportive BAT colleagues in Brazil, W&S, DBS, New Sciences, R&D, ESG and supply chain, you know who you are! We have appreciated and enjoyed working with you all! Thanks also to our partners who help us do great work: Mach49; Global Corporate Venturing; TNW and Elixirr for your support, collaboration and partnership this year. We also thank Bray St. creative agency for our new-look website - we are thrilled with the results. And lastly a thank you also to all of our supporters online and in person, for being part of our journey and helping us grow our community. What three words have summed up 2022 for you? I’d love to know.
Speaking on behalf of the whole team, we wish you a peaceful and healthy festive season and may you welcome in 2023 full of optimism and hope.
Here’s to a wonderful Christmas and New Year!”
Written by Dr Lisa Smith, Managing Director