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On European venture debt in different market conditions with David Bateman, Managing Partner at Claret Capital Partners

From venture debt, to fundraising in different market conditions in an exciting conversation with a fund that has been through the dotcom bubble, the credit crunch and a global pandemic.

Today, we have with us David Bateman, Managing Partner at Claret Capital Partners a growth capital fund based in the United Kingdom.

The venture capital fund has a total size of €297M with +€700M in AUM and focuses primarily on growth-stage and VC-backed deals with European companies that are typically post-Series B. As an investment thesis, they focus on technology and life science companies, and some of their most notable investments are in Abivax, Butternut Box, Holidu, and Veed.

David has more than 20 years of experience in technology lending and financing. Prior to the buyout of Claret Capital from Harbert Management Corporation, he and Johan Kampe had co-founded Harbert European Growth Capital.

From 2002-2011, David was with ETV Capital, one of the leading providers of European growth loans at the time, where he was responsible for originating and managing investments and served on the Board. Prior to ETV, David worked at Broadview International, where he spent 7 years originating and executing technology M&A and financing transactions.

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This episode is brought to you in partnership with Zero One Hundred Conferences, which organizes LP-GP networking events for PE & VC players in various European regions with a global outreach. In the last 8 years, they have hosted 49 events with 1700+ speakers, 6500+ investors, and 12000+ attendees.

Join the upcoming 0100 Conference CEE to meet 350+ LPs and GPs like 500 Global, CVC Capital Partners, EBRD, EIC, EIF, Erste Group, INVL Asset Management, LGT Capital Partners, MidEuropa, Molten Ventures, PFR Ventures, Schroders, and World Fund, to mention a few.

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  • 03:17 David's Journey into Venture Capital

  • 05:37 The Role of Debt in Venture-Backed Businesses

  • 07:19 Venture Debt's Unique Position in Europe

  • 11:03 Optimal Timing for Venture Debt

  • 12:05 Sector-Specific Strategies for Venture Debt

  • 16:48 Key Players in the European Venture Debt Ecosystem

  • 21:36 Understanding the Terms of Venture Debt Deals

  • 27:26 Capital Return Timelines and LP Expectations

  • 28:21 Venture Debt in Different Market Conditions

  • 31:25 The European Venture Landscape

  • 36:30 Building Relationships with VCs and Entrepreneurs

  • 43:25 Learnings from the Latest Fundraising Round

  • 48:30 Advice for Emerging VCs and Final Thoughts

✍️ Show notes


  • How does a non-AI entrepreneur raise money and develop their business in 2024 in Europe?

  • Dispersed nature of European entrepreneurial businesses.

  • Fundraising and development – using equity and using debt.

  • Exiting.


  • My shout-out goes to Zobito.

  • They stick to the areas they know (focus on enterprise software), they do great diligence because they know the area and they are relentlessly constructive afterwards. 

Biggest learnings from your last fundraising.

  • Debt LPs are different to equity LPs. Our LPs are focused on liquidity, cash yield and capital preservation and less focused on small variations in IRR. 

  • Deployment and deals in the ground matter a lot. We have recently funded our billionth euro in deals. Consistent performance over a large volume is the name of the game for the LPs. 

  • That being said, debt LPs also suffer from overindexing in private assets and need distributions to re-invest. But its not as acute as with equity. 

Advice for 10 year younger self.

  • Watch what people do, not what they say

  • Always be growing and learning

  • Keep finding, recruiting and retaining good people.

Top tips for European VCs fundraising right now.

  • Our LPs are different to equity LPs so some of our learnings are not applicable. I think DPI is crucial in a world where paper valuations are volatile. So find liquidity where you can across the portfolio.

  • Long term oligopolies are very rare. Burning less is the right strategy most of the time, although not all the time. 

  • Remember that we are handling the savings that other human beings worked for. Humility towards investors is crucial. 

Counterintuitive thing learned in venture.

“be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy”.

Buffett’s dictum. The bottom of the cycle is the best time, to invest, to hire, to build. Be straight, direct and efficient.

🎓 Upcoming Academy Sessions

Fund Modelling in VC: Assumptions Sheet Construction

🌍 Virtual | 📅 Thursday, May 16 | 🕰️ 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM CET | € 200

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This advanced fund modelling session focuses on creating an assumptions sheet for a VC fund model. We'll explore three key areas (Core Assumptions, Asset Development, and Equity Valuation Dynamics) to demonstrate their impact on fund performance.

You'll receive an assumption sheet template one week prior, and the session will focus on examining how assumptions affect fund performance, tailored to the information you provide upon registration.

👋 Upcoming in-person events we’re hosting

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Fund Modelling Workshop & Mixer | 5th of June | 🌍 Berlin, Germany | Join waitlist.

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📅 Upcoming virtual events

From time to time, a podcast is just not enough. Check out our roundtables and live events below.

🏆 Firesides with the winners of the European VC Awards

Fireside with the Newcomer of the Year Winner | 13/6, 12-1:30 PM | Register here. Hundreds of new VC funds come to market every year. But only ONE will win Newcomer of The Year. This is your chance to meet the winner firsthand.

Fireside chat with the Winner of the Hall of Fame | 15/7, 12-1 PM | Register here.
Hear firsthand from a true giant upon whose shoulders the European tech ecosystem stands tall.

🗓️ The VC Conferences You Can’t Miss

There are some events that just have to be on the calendar. Here’s our list, hit us up if you’re going, we’d love to meet!

0100 Conference CEE 2024 | 📆 14 - 16 May | 🌍 Prague, Czech Republic

Iceland Innovation Week | 📆 15 - 16 May | Reykjavik, Iceland

EBAN Congress Tallinn 2024 | 📆 20-22 May | 🌍 Tallinn, Estonia

SuperVenture | 📆 4 - 6 June | 🌍 Berlin, Germany

Nordic LP Forum & TechBBQ | 📆 September | 🌍 Copenhagen, Denmark

North Star & GITEX Global | 📆 14 - 18 Oct | 🌍 Dubai, UAE

GITEX Europe 2025 | 📆 23 - 25 May 2025 | 🌍 Berlin, Germany

Trying to get in front of European VCs and LPs? The 2024 EUVC Media Kit is out - check it out here, and let’s talk. 💌

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