Meet Said Gutseriev, London-Based Tech Investor & Founder of Larnabel Ventures

When Did You First Become Interested in Technology & Tech Start-Ups?

Emerging technology and creative digital solutions have always fascinated me. During my formative years, I witnessed the rapid rise of the internet economy and the accompanying disruption. Traditional business sectors that many had previously thought untouchable were thoroughly reconstructed. Even academic disciplines were not immune. As a student, I studied archaeology and anthropology at a time when CT scanning, 3D modelling, and Lidar detection were completely transforming archaeological practices. The pace of change made a deep impression on me, and I’ve taken a keen interest in emerging technologies and their applications ever since.

It is intriguing to watch how new industries and business models are born through technological advances, and even more exciting to be involved in that process. For that reason, I decided that all the businesses I would invest in, regardless of sector, would be tech companies at heart. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with some incredible businesses – from eCommerce and fintech, right through to gaming and mobile apps – and I am pleased to say that my focus on tech has paid off so far.


What Do You Find Most Attractive About UK Tech Start-Ups?

The UK is, and always has been, a hotbed for innovation. Government figures show that UK tech start-ups received a record-breaking £29.4bn in funding during 2021, and for good reason! It has been my experience that UK tech start-ups are some of the most ambitious and best plugged in, with multiple tech hubs and ecosystems existing across the country, not just in London.

Britain is known for the quality of its deep tech start-ups, with investors backing breakthrough science and engineering projects. However, the UK should also be applauded for supporting an interdisciplinary approach that circumnavigates the tendency to focus purely on STEM. Unlike in other European countries, where higher education can be much more prescriptive, what you study at university in the UK does not define the future trajectory of your career. This is one of the most underappreciated strengths of the British education system; it creates the ideal conditions for out-of-the-box thinking and cross-disciplinary solutions for everyday problems, which in turn gives rise to great tech start-ups.


What is Your Investment Strategy for the Year Ahead?

As we emerge from the pandemic, entrepreneurs will be better placed to explore new concepts and expand existing business ideas. For Larnabel Ventures – my investment company – this is the perfect moment for us to seek out cutting-edge tech start-ups that have the potential to guide the technological revolution for years to come. Therefore, in 2022, Larnabel will continue to support all existing investments while actively seeking new opportunities.

Some of the trends we are following include but are not limited to: the continued move towards software-as-a-service models across multiple industries; the emergence of new frontier tech, such as Web 3 technology and quantum computing; and green solutions that will help to reduce energy consumption and increase overall sustainability.


Do You Have any Advice for Start-Ups Looking for Early-Stage Investors?

Creatively is key when it comes to attracting investors, but a well thought out plan for scaling the business is equally as valuable. Look for investors with a long-term outlook who will encourage continued investment in growth and development, even if this means not turning a profit for several years.

If your goal is to progress to an eventual IPO, avoid anyone who is focused entirely on short-term results and seek investors with a track record of sticking with the same company through several funding stages. Most importantly, make sure that both sides are happy before any paperwork gets signed, as this will create the best foundation from which to build your partnership.