You might have probably heard of Glassdoor by now – a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. Now, with a similar idea, a UK-based entrepreneur Joe Perkins has decided to start a community project named Landscape – an online review platform for tech startup founders to discover and find investment opportunities.
Joe Perkins studied computer science at Bangor University. After graduating in 2016, he started his first business, Coursematch, an app to help students decide what course to study.
He took the business from the idea stage to launching the product to tens of thousands of users and generating revenue. He remains part of Coursematch in an advisory capacity.
While he was raising funds for Coursematch, he noticed that there were investors who were wasting his time and realised that there was no mechanism to provide feedback to other founders, as well as warn them. This gave him the idea for Landscape.
Landscape started as a community project to help founders better navigate the fundraising ecosystem. The platform aims to increase fairness, accessibility, and transparency in fundraising.
With the help of this platform, entrepreneurs can now provide transparent feedback of their experiences with European venture capital firms and accelerators. Recently, operating under its beta phase, Landscape clocked-up 700 over reviews and has collected 83 ‘Verified Partners’ on the platform.
Founded in May 2020, the startup aims to start with the UK and Europe and later expand to the US market.
Speaking on the development, Perkins, founder of Landscape says, “I started exploring the concept of building a Glassdoor for VC, a resource that would empower founders to share their fundraising interactions for the good of the community. More transparency in the ecosystem would not only provide visibility to all founders but accountability to investors as well.”
Score Factors for VCs and Accelerators
The platform reviews are powered by anonymous founders, who score VCs and accelerators they have interacted with throughout their fundraising journey on 12 different score factors.
Score factors for VCs include approachability, beyond money, board activity, close time, diversity, due diligence, fees, punctuality, professionalism, response time, supportiveness, & terms & conditions.
As for the accelerators, the factors include the application process, approachability, cohort quality, diversity, mentors, network, post programme support, programme, raising possibility, and response time.
During the process of leaving a review, founders are asked for more information about themselves, the business, and whether the firm they are reviewing invested in their startup, to provide context while remaining anonymous.
The platform is free for founders to use, however, it offers a paid subscription for VCs enabling them to unlock premium services. These include replying to reviews, a custom feedback automation, and an insights dashboard that empowers them to see the reasons they are losing marks. The ambition being that they can iterate on their own product while maintaining anonymity for the founders.
Check Warner, partner, Ada Ventures & co-founder, Diversity VC, says “The VC and accelerator landscape is regularly called out due to bad actors or for not doing enough to be more inclusive. There are some great organisations already working with firms to make things better, but data is incredibly important and founders often feel powerless when raising money in the beginning.”
“Landscape’s platform not only provides much-needed transparency for everyone, but also levels the field, and means investors will have to take consistent and sustained action rather than provide lip service, or a one-off. Even better – investors will have more insight into how founders perceive them and have the insights they need to improve,” she adds.
The Data So Far
According to Landscape, the 10 Best Performing European VC Firms rated by its community with over five reviews include 7percent Ventures, Ada Ventures, Ascension Ventures, Backed VC, Connect Ventures, Dynamo Ventures, Episode 1 Ventures, Kindred Capital, Seedcamp, and Talis Capital.
Additional insights based on almost 700 reviews so far include:
- VCs score worst on “Diversity”, and “Beyond Money”
- Accelerators score worst for Post Programme Support
- Female founders typically feel less supported by their investors than male founders
- Founders who didn’t successfully raise capital rate VC “Response Time” lower than those who did
Landscape has built an extensive advisory group including Alexandra Depledge MBE (founder and CEO of Resi), Eamonn Carey (MD of Techstars London and partner at The Fund), Emma Sinclair MBE (co-founder of Enterprise Alumni), Hussein Kanji (partner at Hoxton Ventures), and Jon Bradford (partner at Dynamo Ventures).
Image credits: Landscape