Zoopla's Alex Chesterman and Shutl's Tom Allason contribute to early-stage tech venture fund

The backer of successful technology companies including Shazam, Zoopla and LOVEFiLM has been handed the reigns of a new venture capital fund.


The backer of successful technology companies including Shazam, Zoopla and LOVEFiLM has been handed the reigns of a new venture capital fund.

Simon Murdoch is leading the newly-formed Episode 1, a £37.5 million pot which represents the 14th Enterprise Capital Fund (EFC).

To go with the government support that EFC’s get, Episode 1 has also received £12.5 million of private capital from a number of serial entrepreneurs. The likes of Zoopla founder and CEO Alex Chesterman, Shutl founder Tom Allason and Vivid Toy Group founders Nick Austin and Alan Bennie are putting their personal wealth behind it.

Its investment prerogative will be to inject between £250,000 and £2 million into ’20 to 30′ early-stage companies which show the potential to be disruptive in the internet and mobile sectors.

Alongside Murdoch, Damien Lane and Adrian Lloyd will serve as partners and look for start-ups which have already secured customers.

Murdoch says, ‘We’ve raised the money for the fund from other entrepreneurs and successful business people and this has been supplemented by the finance matching from the UK government which enables us to invest and help more high-growth UK businesses with global-market aspirations.’

Chesterman, who’s Zoopla business recently scooped Europe’s Most Exciting Investor Backed Company of the Year at this year’s Investor AllStars awards (hosted by GrowthBusiness), says that he is keen to support other UK entrepreneurs in building future globally-successful technology businesses.

Simon was an early investor in both Zoopla and my previous venture, LOVEFiLM, and I know that he and the whole Episode 1 team can add a lot of value to help the next generation of start-ups fulfil their potential.’

In his own private angel investment capacity, Chesterman has been part of funding rounds involving Uniplaces, SportPursuit and Huddlebuy.

Business secretary Vince Cable has endorsed the new Enterprise Capital Fund, which as a collective have invested £197 million into 160 companies since 2006, and says that the government is ‘determined’ to give entrepreneurs the requisite financial support needed.

‘This new £37.5 million Enterprise Capital Fund will target a serious gap in the equity market for high-growth small firms,’ Cable adds.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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