Wendy Tan White, the cofounder of DIY website builder Moonfruit, is leaving company builder Entrepreneur First in September and joining venture capital firm BGF Ventures, where she will be the firm’s first female partner.
Tan White, a 46-year-old entrepreneur that was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to technology businesses, will work alongside existing BGF Ventures partners Rory Stirling, Simon Calver, and Harry Briggs.
BGF Ventures is the VC arm of the Business Growth Fund (BGF) – a £2.5 billion investment company that backs businesses across the UK. It is funded by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.
Launched in 2015, BGF Ventures has £200 million at its disposal. It has invested almost £50 million in 18 UK companies so far including the likes of meal kit delivery service Gousto and edtech startup Firefly. Each investment is between £1 million and £6 million.
Explaining her logic for moving, Tan White told Business Insider: “I want to help UK early stage tech companies really scale right through their lifecycle from seed to growth and eventually exit/IPO. I’d like to work with fewer teams more deeply through each stage of growth and use the full range of experience I have as I took my own business from start to exit and to global scale after we were acquired over a 15 year journey.
“EF has become a scaled ‘company builder’ producing a high volume of incredibly, talented deep tech companies from formation to seed. I’ll look forward to investing in them when I’m at BGF Ventures at their next stage.”
At BGF Ventures, Tan White will be responsible for spotting the next generation of high-potential young startups across the UK to invest in.
Tan White studied computer science at Imperial College London before founding Moonfruit with her now husband Joe White. The Moonfruit platform was launched in 2010 and sold to Yell in 2012 for a reported $29 million (£23 million).
Tan White – who has been an active angel investor for several years, backing the likes of Magic Pony Technology, which was acquired by Twitter last year for $150 million (£118 million) – said it “it was a big decision” for her and her husband to go their separate ways in their careers.
“Joe is staying at EF and taking on a bigger role as CFO,” said Tan White. “Joe and I are excited at the opportunity of being able to supporting the UK ecosystem more broadly at different stages.
“I’m still fully behind EF, I will remain an LP and shareholder. I have personally mentored 20+ EF companies through formation and got them seed funded. Having worked successfully at this pre-seed/seed stage, I’m now ready to work with a smaller group of companies more deeply all the way through to exit/IPO. I’m keen to invest in and scale EF companies but also other ambitious startups in the UK ecosystem. I can do this at BGF Ventures as part of BGF.”