Picture Credit: Emblem
In case you plan to launch a brand new startup in France, Denmark or Sweden, there’s a new seed fund searching for your pitch. Emblem mentioned at this time that it has raised almost $54 million (€50 million) for a brand new European seed fund. And that is solely its first shut: the agency expects to boost as a lot as $80 million (€75 million) by the tip of the yr.
Emblem was based by Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan and Guillaume Durao. This isn’t the primary time we’ve talked about de Raphélis Soissan, as she was once an entrepreneur herself and I first lined her startup, Clustree, again in 2014.
Clustree was a expertise administration and HR platform that was acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand. Some enterprise angels like Frédéric Montagnon and Florian Douetteau had been fairly instrumental in shaping Clustree’s trajectory, so de Raphélis Soissan began investing after exiting her startup.
Durao has been an investor for a number of years. He labored for Mangrove Capital Companions and Idinvest, which is now a part of Eurazeo. Whereas each companions are French natives, Durao has labored in Denmark and has been fairly energetic within the Nordic tech ecosystem. He has additionally invested a few of his personal cash as a enterprise angel.
Durao and de Raphélis Soissan had constructed an attention-grabbing portfolio of angel investments earlier than launching Emblem. They invested in crypto buying and selling card recreation Sorare, pet insurance coverage startup Dalma, and cultivated meat firm Gourmey. Along with these French startups, their investments embrace Growblocks and All Gravy in Denmark, and Ark Kapital and Objectives in Sweden.
The subsequent step is a correct seed fund with extra capital. Emblem desires to steer or co-lead seed investments, focusing on investments between €500,000 and €3 million. Total, the agency desires to put money into 25 to 30 tech corporations with its preliminary fund.
Whereas the frim lists a couple of verticals corresponding to AI, B2B SaaS, fintech, future of labor, and digital well being, it doesn’t have a particular concentrate on some industries; it’s a generalist tech seed fund.
As for its backers, Emblem managed to boost capital from the Danish sovereign fund Vaekstfonden, institutional traders like Edenred, a number of French and Nordic household workplaces, in addition to tech entrepreneurs searching for funding alternatives. Entrepreneurs who invested in Emblem embrace the founders of 3shape, Dixa, Falcon, Kantox, Peakon, PeopleDoc, Planday, Pleo, Qonto, Silae, Spendesk, Swile and Zendesk.
Two issues assist Emblem stand out from different French VC corporations. First, it focuses on Swedish and Danish startups along with startups based in France. “Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm are the three of essentially the most attention-grabbing startup hubs after London and Berlin,” de Raphélis Soissan informed me.
Second, Emblem doesn’t need to develop into an early-stage fund that additionally invests in Collection A rounds or later. Certain, the agency will allocate a portion of its fund for follow-on investments in current portfolio corporations, however that will likely be it.
“We’re going to have an unique concentrate on seed. The thought is that we aren’t going to boost an even bigger fund and begin investing in Collection A rounds,” de Raphélis Soissan mentioned.
A brand new wave of micro funds in Europe
It’s onerous to explain what a micro fund is. As many VC corporations begin elevating ever bigger funds, all the pieces else begins to seem like a micro fund.
Emblem is larger than a micro fund, however there are actually a handful of people elevating new funds with solely €5 million, €10 million or €15 million beneath administration. Identical to how the U.S. noticed profitable traders specializing in enterprise capital with their very own micro funds a couple of years in the past, Europe is now seeing an identical pattern emerge as nicely.
Throughout my dialogue with de Raphélis Soissan, we talked about a few of these new funds. As an illustration, Anthony Danon and Carmen Alfonso Rico have been fairly energetic with Cocoa, and Gloria Baeuerlein is behind a brand new fund referred to as Past Capital; Pietro Invernizzi is presently elevating his personal fund.
I’ve additionally lined some larger funds which have popped up over the previous yr or so, corresponding to Resonance, Ovni Capital and Galion.exe. We even have Teampact Ventures and Origins.
Regardless that we’re now amidst a tech downturn, it’s attention-grabbing to see that there are extra choices for early-stage funding in Europe, and every fund has its personal funding thesis. These rising companions may faucet their very own networks, which ought to create extra alternatives for the tech ecosystem as a complete.