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Kerry Baldwin – reflections on my year as BVCA Chair

Publish Date 31 Mar 2022
Categories News
It has been an enormous privilege to Chair the BVCA for 2021/22. This has come with a great responsibility to ensure that each of our member firms are well represented; from early-stage VCs (such as my own, IQ Capital) to the largest global PE firms. Understanding and responding at speed to the complexities of our vast membership has been fascinating and rewarding, especially engaging with so many of you directly through our extensive member outreach and being the voice of our sector on many important issues.

It became evident in my preceding year as Vice-Chair that government and policy influencers needed to better understand the rapidly changing operating environment that has impacted all our firms, post Brexit, Covid-19 and now the tragedies in Ukraine. I have spent many months alongside the BVCA team building new, trusted relationships with government and their advisors – explaining from a practitioner’s viewpoint the real-time issues affecting our sector and helping with formation of a wide range of policies to underpin the UK’s science superpower agenda, from innovation through to IPOs. An important part of this was convening our members to share first-hand their experiences and issues affecting our portfolio companies, across all investment stages.

This is only possible with the incredibly driven and committed team at the BVCA. I take this opportunity to thank them all: from the agile and energetic events team navigating remote to now in-person events with such professionalism, raising awareness of pressing issues affecting our members and providing a forum for them to meet and engage; the training team that welcomes and educates new colleagues, championing best practice; our data and research team who have produced exceptional reports to evidence the impact of our sector throughout the UK; our membership team welcoming many new firms and liaising directly on pressing issues affecting your teams and portfolio companies; the professional media and external affairs team navigating the challenges that have arisen; and, finally, the brilliant policy team working on wide-ranging policy matters. All of this under the exceptional leadership of Michael Moore who has inspired and led the team to work collaboratively and tirelessly behind the scenes on our members’ behalf.

A personal thank you to an often unsung and vitally important part of our membership base, our technical committees – comprised of the leading lawyers, accountants and other professional advisors. They generously provide their time and expertise across a vast range of policies affecting our industry, delivering significant impact for our fund manager members.

A thank you to all the government advisors across multiple departments with whom I have engaged, helping to deliver policy at speed since the start of the pandemic – their continued engagement is hugely valuable and appreciated. I am particularly proud to witness them increasingly reach out to the BVCA for help, citing our portfolio case studies in roundtables and convening our investment firms and portfolio companies to better understand our sector as they prepare important policy and strategies. This is key to the success of policy in the UK and the success of our sector.

Those who know me will appreciate my dedication to represent all our industry and the work I have put in behind the scenes – even wearing Dr Martens boots to No.10 when engaging on venture and being able to illustrate the impact of PE! It has been a tremendous honour to work with the experienced BVCA Council members and I will look back fondly on my time as Chair.

We have made progress on a huge range of policy areas, including: access to DC pension funds; national security; sustainable finance & ESG; the Listings Review; R&D tax credits; and many more. The BVCA has also contributed to key government reports on areas such as life sciences and fintech, and played a crucial role in important initiatives such as the Rose Review, the Productive Finance Working Group, and COP26.

Our engagement with the media has also increased to a level I am incredibly proud of. We are an industry that is used to criticism but has perhaps been hesitant to respond, in favour of getting the job done. That has changed. The willingness of you all to provide us with information, case studies and more has allowed us to step up and tell your story.

Finally, I encourage all members, however new to the industry, to participate on committees, panels, provide case studies for your portfolio companies and continue to submit your data to help the BVCA team to advance the importance of our sector as a united membership.

I am delighted to be able to pass the baton to Charlie Troup, an industry stalwart with so much experience. The BVCA, and the industry, is in safe hands as you drive forward together – supporting businesses nationwide, creating jobs and investing in a better future.

Kerry Baldwin
BVCA Chair 2021/22, and Managing Partner, IQ Capital