European entrepreneurs have good reason to be optimistic. Not only has the continent already produced 47 unicorns but several high-profile funds have also been raised in the past few months. And now that Firstminute Capital, the VC firm, has closed a new multi-million dollar fund, the continent’s founders have even more to be cheerful about.
The VC firm is looking to invest its new $60m fund in deep-tech companies in Europe. It will plough as much as $750,000 into early-stage startups working in the fields of AI, robotics and the internet of things. The fund is backed by 23 entrepreneurs, including the people behind tech unicorns like Supercell, the game developer, Skyscanner, the travel search engine, and BlaBlaCar, the ride-sharing company. It also has the backing of Skype founder Niklas Zennström and Mervyn Davies, former chairman of Standard Chartered bank.
Firstminute Capital’s executive chairman and co-founder Brent Hoberman is spearheading the fund. And the entrepreneur certainly has a strong track record when it comes to turning ideas into successful businesses: he’s the co-founder of lastminute.com, the travel booking platform and Founders Factory, the accelerator and incubator. He also has an impressive track record when it comes to betting on the winning horse. For instance, it was one of the early investors in companies like Onfido, the background-checking scaleup, and Onefinestay, the luxury accommodation-renting business.
Commenting on the fund, Hoberman said: “We were aiming to raise $60 million for our first fund, and to have achieved that with oversubscription before our final close is a strong signal for European technology. We believe the fund represents an unparalleled wealth of expertise to deliver on this promise.” He added that the company believe that “emerging European technology startups will continue to excite, and build on the momentum that has seen 47 unicorn companies built in Europe in the last ten years”.
And he isn’t the only one banking on the continent’s entrepreneurial potential: several other VC firms have recently announced funds aimed at supporting European startups. For instance, in April 83North raised a $250m fund and Forward Partners announced a £60m fund for European startups. Similarly, Atomico announced the close of a $765bn fund in February.
With so many VC firms putting their money where their mouths are, European founders certainly have some reason to smile.