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Mentra Ventures’ mission is to uncover, invest in, and incubate the very best of the Welsh early-stage ecosystem, transforming Wales’ startup landscape on a scale never seen before.

We are aiming to support 100 rounds across the next four years into category defining businesses, nurturing the next generation of Welsh entrepreneurs.

20 December 2023

Embodying ‘Mentra’: A Journey from University to Investing



Adam Thomas-Brown
Mentra Ventures


In a world where academic pursuits often take centre stage at University, I found myself taking a different path during my final year. While my peers were (rightly) focussed on their dissertations, I was drawn to something far more practical and hands-on – a Fintech Startup.

Following hot on the heels of internships in corporate finance and regulatory consulting, working at was an amazing opportunity to experience what it means to build a pre-seed startup, first hand. I've always considered myself a doer and someone who thrives on being asked to roll up their sleeves and get things done, so the fit was apparent from day 1.

Only in the past year and a half has it become evident to me that, without realizing it five years ago, I was embodying a concept that would later prove to be significant in my life, what it means to ‘Mentra’.

Without a direct translation in English, the range of translations for ‘Mentra’ are to dare, to risk, to wager, to venture. All encapsulate the spirit of entrepreneurialism and the importance of betting on one’s self in life – both things that Wales could only do with more of in my opinion.

After graduation, I was fortunate to being able to join a firm demonstrating plenty of Mentra: Lexington Corporate Finance, a regional boutique in Cardiff which has achieved incredible growth over the last 7 years. Operating in a less crowded regional space, your proximity to entrepreneurs and ability to directly help is exceptional, unlike the highly structured and mechanical processes of muti £bn M&A.

Here, every million raised was of utmost importance to the business owner. It was about helping them achieve their vision in a highly personal way, not just going through the motions of corporate machinery. You also realise how the locality and connection of capital to the companies they invest in is a critical and often overlooked variable at the earliest stage of growth – a huge factor in how we can increase the number of large exits in Wales over the next 10 years.

This experience laid the foundation for my broader advisory work, focusing on early-stage companies and startups. It was about bridging the gap in Wales, where the lack of mission-driven investors has led to a real. It led to introspection and a drive to answer why some of the most successful companies in Wales didn't take a Welsh pound on their journey to success. This was the first problem we needed to fix—a critical step before we could think about optimizing our universities and nurturing regional centres of excellence.

And so, the journey continued, leading to the creation of Mentra itself.

No better word signifies the essence of what we aim to achieve – daring to step into a clear gap our region’s investment landscape, more fully embracing risk to foster innovation better in Wales and ensuring that opportunities are not missed as they have been in the past, by betting on our strategy to cover Wales forensically in sourcing. The venture as a whole is a risk, and risk is baked into every investment, but we wouldn’t be making a bet on ourselves, or Wales for that matter, unless we liked the odds.


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