An exit to Amazon, some amazing investments and just going big
Dr Simon Murdoch follows his instincts. He set up Bookpages in the mid-90's because he saw an opportunity to emulate Amazon in the UK. He has invested in some the most iconic UK start-ups of the last twenty years. He has become a figurehead for invested investors in London. He loves what he does, particularly learning something new everyday. In this podcast Simon describes why he set up a competitor to Amazon, what it's like to work for Jeff Bezos and how he transitioned into investing. Although he has experienced his share of failures, his eye for a successful start-up is remarkable.
Dr Simon Murdoch is Managing Partner of Episode 1 Ventures which runs two Enterprise Capital Funds investing c £100m in early stage software-driven businesses in the UK. Investments in Episode 1’s first fund include Aimbrain, Carwow, CloudNC, Emoov and Triptease. The second fund was launched recently and is looking for c 25 more companies to build from Seed to Series A and beyond.
Simon is a highly experienced technology investor and has been an entrepreneur as well as a very active angel and venture capitalist.
Previously, Simon was VP Europe of Amazon.com. He managed huge growth from start up in late 1996 through to multimillion turnover and hundreds of staff, ie from founding his own Internet bookselling company Bookpages in 1996, to acquisition by Amazon.com and launch of Amazon.co.uk in 1998, and its subsequent ultra-high growth.
In 2000, he was founder and managing partner of Chase Episode 1, a $100m fund raised to invest at start up or early stage in Internet and technology businesses in Europe such as Betfair (IPO 2010), ScanSafe (sold to Cisco 2009) and First Tuesday. Unusually for a year 2000 vintage fund, Chase Episode 1 returned over 3x the amount invested to its investors.
He also spent two years from 2010 at Octopus Ventures as Portfolio Director covering over 30 investee businesses including Evi Technologies, SwiftKey and Graze.
Over the last 18 years, Simon has invested directly as a business angel and advised as non-executive chairman or director a number of successful Internet and mobile technology businesses based in the UK.
Episode 1 - venture team helping daring entrepreneurs create the future - and master the journey from Seed to Series A.
Bookpages - Internet book seller.
Amazon - Global leader in e-commerce and cloud computing.
British Business Bank - a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses.
ECF - financial schemes established by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the UK to address a market weakness in the provision of equity finance to UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs).