Bootstrap Europe reflects on the last 12 months

As we usher in a new year, our team, customers and investors are no doubt creating new promises to themselves as the momentum for self-improvement in January takes place.

On a business level, it’s no different. We aim to take inspiration from our customers — promising scale-ups from all over Europe — and build upon Bootstrap’s strong foundation and ethos. We already support many scale-ups who work in green energy, genetic testing, SaaS, fintech and smarter city solutions. We will continue to work alongside some of the greatest minds in Europe and provide growth debt to those working hard to make the world sustainable and help communities of people at a disadvantage.

A look back at the last 12 months at Bootstrap Europe

We have learnt a lot in the last 12 months, and have many reasons to welcome 2021 with open arms.

We announced several new investments with customers including the well-renowned food delivery service Farmdrop, and covered many of our partnerships over at our new Medium Blog, and our updated website. There you can find out more about our journey with the incredible entrepreneurs behind businesses such as M2i Life SciencesFittingBoxBlueprint GeneticsTransferGo, and Cloud NC.

However, these wins all happened on a backdrop of unnerving events such as coronavirus, which had the world at its knees socially and economically. Although businesses around Europe were all affected in different ways, some have come out stronger pivoting and creating solutions that suit the world we live in today. As for the growth debt industry, Private Debt Investor suggests that the sector is blossoming despite the pandemic, and will continue to ‘surf, not drown’.

The Black Lives Matter movement was another monumental moment, and one very close to our hearts. We understand firsthand what it means to be Black women building an investment-focused business in what has traditionally been a sector that lacks diversity. Although the movement had a much deeper resonance in the US and in the UK, we believe the need for diversity has lifted the taboo on conversations with LPs and entrepreneurs alike. There is no doubt that Europe will have its own moment of reckoning, with what we hope will be a positive resolution, and we want to participate constructively to this awareness.

Our team at Bootstrap reflects the diversity we wish to see in the world, diversity which comes in many forms, be it race, gender, nationality or social background. The portfolios we have assembled across two funds reflect the different prisms we are lucky to have in the team.

Although we are only a month in, we already have a lot to be excited about.

Bootstrap co-founder and Managing Partner, Fatou Diagne ended 2020 on a high note by participating in the very relevant, and renowned CleanTech Flattening the Climate Curve LP/GP Investor Summit. At Bootstrap, we invest in scale-ups who are disrupting industries known for inefficient processes and waste and making it a more environmentally conscious space to work in. Scale-ups we support who are active in this area include Voltea, FittingBox, E-leather and CloudNC. We were proud to take part in the event, as we believe that backing climate-aware businesses is a win-win situation for everyone involved, but most importantly for the preservation of earth as we know it.

The summit was organised by the non-profit organisation, The taskforce consists of a diverse group of investors with long-standing experience in the European venture market, of which Bootstrap Europe will be a part of.

Fatou tells us of her participation: “It’s a joy to be providing finance to so many exciting businesses across Europe, yet it comes with great responsibility. From our standpoint, we want to make sure that every business we work with is doing their bit for the planet. We all have a duty to take care of this world, and in turn, so does every business in all aspects of their operations. That’s why we’re proud to be a part of such a remarkable initiative with Techleap.NL, where Bootstrap promises to ensure that each business on our portfolio meets our environmental standards in place”.

You can find out more about’s CleanTech Flattening the Climate Curve LP/GP Investor Summit and Bootstrap’s participation at Yahoo FinanceMarketWatchBusiness Insider — Market Insider and PR Newswire.

Secondly, we have announced our investment in Habito, the number one UK broker making mortgages easier for people.

Lastly, Bootstrap invests in several scale-ups focused on Life Sciences including M2i Life Sciences, Blueprint Genetics and Sequana Medical. Because of our interest and belief in the value of businesses working in the Life Sciences sector, we’re thrilled to have Odile Rundquist join us at Bootstrap as our Life Sciences’ Advisor, and Kristine Erwin who will join our investment team as VP of Life Sciences.

Odile will be sharing her knowledge from her extensive work and knowledge in biochemistry and funding life-changing research in biotech. Her expertise has brought her opportunities to advise in a senior scientific capacity for high-profile initiatives and to sit on the board of Amazentis SA, an innovative life science company.

Odile tells us: “I am delighted to be kicking off 2021 with my new role at Bootstrap Europe. The team understands the importance of Life Sciences, and the importance of financially backing businesses in this life changing industry”.

Kristine will draw from her experience at Norgine Ventures, where she spent five years providing debt financing to the top, innovative healthcare and life science startups in Europe and the US. Her accomplishments led to roles of Board Observer for Nuubo (since Nov 2017) and Advalight (since Oct 2019). Previous to Norgine Ventures, Kristine was with Lazard Investment Banking focusing on pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare services companies.

A look ahead

It is a tradition for many business leaders to make their predictions for the new year. Though there is comfort in tradition, we as business owners recognise the uncomfortable feeling of going into the unknown to accomplish our dreams and goals. We have just lived through nine months of uncertainty, and yet we were already very well acquainted with rapidly changing environments.

It is with this knowledge, we have been able to persevere. We have applied lessons learnt in the past to everything we’ve done over the past months, whether that’s dealing with unwanted news, surprising news or appreciating the happier moments. Supporting ambitious entrepreneurs who want to grow their business is something we truly love doing. We can empathise with the difficulties 2020 brought us all, and the upcoming hurdles we will all have to overcome before a sense of normality returns.

Many investors, people and businesses are walking into 2021 with caution. It’s understandable considering the uncertainty 2020 brought us all. On a macro level, we see that 2021 will bring a lot of change for the world — socially and financially.

Although growth debt is the investment worlds’ best-kept secret, many scale-ups realise the potential the sector has to help them move to their next stage of growth. The benefits for technology growth debt are clear: less equity dilution, additional cash, and even help founders looking to close rounds quickly and quietly.

Growth debt will no doubt start to become more mainstream over the next twelve months as businesses look for new ways for funding without giving up as much equity as they would with other types of investors.

Furthermore, it was found that businesses with an ESG focus led to better returns throughout the pandemic. Investors are increasingly looking at how the businesses they place their money with are impacting the world positively, ensuring that they look at the environmental, social and governance aspects of each potential investment.

Although it still feels like every day is Groundhog Day, there are reasons to feel hope and to be positive for the new year as the vaccine is rolled out, the sense of community built up in 2020 continues to be felt across the world, and the economy starts to rebuild after a tough nine months. Change may have happened overnight in 2020, yet one day soon, this year, we will reconnect again not just over Zoom, but in person.

Bootstrap Europe supports thriving industries across the globe, from green energy and genetic testing to SaaS, fintech and smarter city solutions; the team’s collective experience has ensured that the fund includes some of Europe’s fastest, socially-focused scale-up businesses.

To find out more about how Bootstrap Europe helps scale-up businesses, you can visit our website here.

For publications and event organisers looking for comment and participation on venture debt, investment in scale-ups, and the current venture debt/scale-up landscape in the UK and Europe please get in touch at [email protected].

Plus, to hear more about Fatou Diagne and Stephanie Heller’s journey building Bootstrap Europe, and how they have turned this scale-up-centric business into one of Europe’s most promising venture debt funds, we’d love to hear from you.

Related Posts