Who We Are

Playfair Capital is a London based seed fund founded in 2011 by Federico Pirzio-Biroli. We invest in tenacious entrepreneurs building technology that generates a quantum leap in the way people live, work, and play for the better. Fundamentally, we want to invest in companies that matter. A core tenet of our ethos is to invest and work on a level playing field with our entrepreneurs. We partner closely with our teams to provide the financial, operational, and strategic support required to bring their visionary technologies to the world. We’ve backed companies across the UK, Europe, the US, and Africa. 

Federico Pirzio-Biroli Profile Image

Federico Pirzio-Biroli

Founding Partner & Chairman

Fede started out as an angel investor in 2010. His portfolio quickly grew, so he built a team around him and thus Playfair Capital was born. We have since gone on to become one of Europe’s most active and well-known early-stage VC funds. Before becoming a technology investor Fede worked for several NGOs in Africa, with a particular focus on aid transparency. He recently renewed his focus on Africa by relocating to Kenya and becoming an angel investor in East Africa’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. He maintains an active role at Playfair and continues to lead our investment team.

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Georgia Taylor Foster

Partner

Georgia joined Playfair in 2013 and has lead deals across a variety of sectors, including FinTech, media, e-commerce and SaaS. She splits her time between managing Fund 1 portfolio companies and sourcing new deals for Fund 2.
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Chris Smith

Partner

Chris joined Playfair 2018 as a partner. He previously built and exited a telecoms startup that operated in ten countries. Following this he spent nearly a decade in the City as a private equity lawyer. More recently he was the 8th employee at plan.com, where he held several positions including Sales Director, Head of Tech and Head of Product Development. Chris has also been an active angel investor over the past 10 years with several notable exits. 
Joe Thornton Profile Image

Joe Thornton

Investor

Joe joined Playfair in early 2015 following stints at Google and Facebook. After spending three years as our Head of Talent, finding and hiring exceptional people for our portfolio companies, he joined our investment team full time. He now focuses on leading new deals and working closely with many of our existing companies. 

We Look For

We look for entrepreneurs with the perseverance and raw ability to build global companies that are key players in their market. These are the characteristics we are looking for:

 

1. Inspirational Entrepreneurs

Great companies are managed by outstanding leaders. While there’s no one-sized fits all model to follow, we look for teams with creativity, unstoppable resilience, an insatiable desire to succeed, and adaptability in uncertain times. Ingenuity and curiosity, as well as the potential for growth, are important to us too. We invest in founders of all backgrounds, technical or not.

2. A Great Idea

We look for companies that have components of proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and branding. Ideas that offer solutions to problems where the added value of the proposition is simply understood and unquestionable. While we prefer that entrepreneurs test their core hypotheses before we invest, we have invested pre-product where the opportunity is extremely compelling.

3. A Huge and Growing Market

We look for ideas that can be quickly scaled in global markets. Of course we look to invest in multi-billion dollar markets, but we also invest in markets that will grow by orders of magnitude as a result of the product or service built by the company we back.

4. Execution and Rollout

Having all the above is worthless without relentless execution. We look for entrepreneurs capable of identifying and delivering on set milestones and strategy to accelerate the company into a major global player.