Josh Bell
General Partner

Part of our founding team, Josh leads on financial software across Europe. He led our investments in, and sat on the boards of, both iZettle and Tink – the biggest fintech M&A exits in Europe. Josh currently sits on the boards of Billie, Copper, Soldo, Elwood, Divido and OpenGamma. And as head of our internal talent development, he’s also been instrumental in growing the Dawn family into what it is today.


With nearly 20 years working exclusively in financial services – six of those spent advising Fortune 500 financial institutions with McKinsey & Company – he’s built enduring relationships with founders and key executives across Europe and the US. 


Before entering the venture world, Josh studied economics and game theory at Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge Universities. 


Away from the office, Josh is a long-serving trustee of the UK’s largest debt management charity, StepChange, a Patron of The Royal Academy of Arts and sits on the Development Council of the Almeida Theatre.

In conversation
Why B2B software VC?
Without rehashing Marc Andreesen’s words too much, software is simply eating the world. There is an unstoppable wave of demand for digitisation, particularly post-Covid, and businesses from the world’s largest banks to our local corner coffee shops are relying on software to power nearly every aspect of their everyday operations. Combining this ever-incr...easing demand with recurring revenue models make this a terrific area of focus for Dawn!
Most exciting moment at Dawn?
Absolutely would be the 2018 sale of iZettle to Paypal. We had led two funding rounds, including the most recent pre-IPO round only five months before, and acquisition interest from a string of suitors in the run-up to the IPO led to a bake-off with Paypal winning the deal, and creating the largest ever Fintech M&A transaction in Europe. That morning’s ful...l team Investment Committee in the office involved a lot of champagne, and then that was the end of the day really…!
What do you think is the most interesting trend in the industry, and why?
I lead on fintech within Dawn: Open Banking will become the norm across the industry — not because of the push effects of government legislation, but because those are now outstripped by the pull effects of consumer demand. The accelerated digitisation of finance in the post-covid world has already arrived, and we now have zero-touch finance. The continue...d death of cash, alongside market-shifting changes like Apple Pay’s success will see more and more companies and financial institutions wanting to connect to payment rails and banks directly for payment orchestration. Our former portfolio company Tink is now Open Banking’s leading European player, and has been at the forefront of harnessing this combination of trends. And the quick fire round…
And the quick fire round…
Netflix show you’d recommend
24 - it was the best show ever!
Recipe for the perfect weekend
Long weekend walks along the river with our two girls.
Favourite SaaS metric
For me, it’s CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) Payback Period — as it has been for the last 14 years in this game. There can be an enormous strain on capital for our fastest-growing companies, and the time needed to recover acquisition costs tells you a huge amount about how a company will be able to accelerate with the rocket fuel from Series A, B, C and later funding.
Best & worst thing in a pitch
Best: just stick to one theme on each slide, and keep your entire audience on the same idea. Especially true in our Zoom world of presenting to dispersed teams! Worst: animation.

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