Index Ventures, a European based venture fund that has also invested heavily in U.S. startups, will launch a new seed fund on Monday to focus on early stage deals. Partners Neil Rimer, Danny Rimer, Saul Klein and Mike Volpi will manage Index Seed. The fund is partnering with existing seed fund The Accelerator Group, and TAG founder Robin Klein is joining Index as a venture partner.
The firm plans to make twenty early stage investments over the next 24 months, Klein told me. Investments will range from $50,000 – $1 million in size. And unlike many seed funds that have been carved out of larger venture funds, the partners will take board seats or otherwise be heavily engaged with their startups. With larger venture funds, the partners have time to make the investments but can’t spend a lot of time on them simply because they are managing so much other money. Index Seed is being carved out of Index’s existing $400 million fund.
The decision making process is streamlined, says Klein. “We are optimizing our process for due diligence and legals. We can make decisions quickly, don’t need a board seat, expect rights that are the same as other seed investors and can invest as little as $50k or as much as $1m in a seed round.”
Index already does seed deals occasionally, and Index Seed is a way to structure and organize those efforts. Saul Klein has been actively engaged in promoting young startups through SeedCamp, a startup competition and incubator, and OpenCoffee Club, a entrepreneur networking event that has spread around the world. And the partnership with TAG brings in additional expertise around early stage deals.
Index has done 40 seed stage deals since 1995, says Klein, and 30 of those were in the last 5 years. Those deals include MySQL, Skype, Playfish and RightScale.
TAG is a seed fund run by father and son team Robin Klein and Saul Klein. The fund, which won the Europa award for top European investor, is a co-investor with Index with 14 companies, including Moo, My Heritage, Glasses Direct, OpenX, Stardoll, Moshi Monsters and LoveFilm. Saul Klein works at both funds, and so there is already a lot of overlap. TAG’s exits include Agent Provocateur (3i), Sit Up TV (Virgin Media), Lastminute.com (IPO), Last.fm (CBS) and Dopplr (Nokia). They currently have 44 active investments. TAG will continue to make its own investments – Robin Klein will spend two days a week at Index.
Saul Klein says that Index wants to continue to invest with top angels in Europe and the U.S., and says that those relationships are crucial to bringing in deal flow. He talks about the notion of “fellow travlers” – investors who share Index’s philosophy of active engagement with seed stage teams. “In the nearly 100 or more seed deals, we have collectively done, we have seen time and again how important it is for founders to have not just relevant investors at the seed stage but investors who are accessible, honest and engaged,” says Klein.
Index Ventures is a leading venture capital firm specializing in investments in information technology and life sciences companies. The firm invests in seed, early and growth stage start-ups across US and Europe. Since its inception in 1996, Index Ventures has backed visionary entrepreneurs who have taken on incumbents and built seminal companies in a number of growth sectors including: open source software companies such as MySQL, Trolltech, Zend and Pentaho; broadband and VOIP companies such as Virata, Skype, FON and...
Based in London, The Accelerator Group (TAG) has been an advisor and investor in early stage and start-up companies since 1995. They focus on the Internet services, eCommerce and multi-channel retail sectors, investing primarily in the US and Europe.
Neil Rimer is a co-founder and Partner of Index Ventures. In 1992, Neil started the venture capital activity of Index’s predecessor firm, later co-founding Index Ventures and raising the firm’s first fund in 1996. Neil’s current investment focus is on innovative solutions for energy and environmental problems. He is currently on the board of Weatherbill, AlertMe, Lehigh Technologies, Netvibes, Moo Print, Photobox, Innovative Silicon, Pulsic, AdMarvel and DoubleTwist. Neil sponsored many of the firm’s investments including Betfair, Ofoto (now Kodak), Trolltech...
Danny Rimer joined Index Ventures in 2002 and established the firm’s London office. His investment interests include Internet infrastructure software and services. He currently serves on a number of boards including Boku, Etsy, Factual, Flipboard, FON, Nastygal, Oanda, PeoplePerHour, Sky (BSY), Rightscale, Trialpay and viagogo. He’s an observer on the board of Dropbox and he is also a director of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centers and SFMOMA. He previously was a director of KVS (McAfee), Last.fm (CBS), Lovefilm (Amazon), MySQL...
Saul is currently a Partner at Index Ventures. Before joining Index, he served as the global VP of marketing and e-commerce for Skype (purchased by eBay, where he is currently still an advisor). Prior to Skype, Saul co-founded and served as CEO for Video Island, an Index-funded venture that recently merged with LoveFilm to become Europeâ€™s leading online DVD rental and movie download service.
Mike Volpi joined Index Ventures in July 2009. He is a Partner in the San Francisco office, focusing on investments in the Enterprise Software and Consumer Internet companies. He also contributes to the firm’s later stage growth fund and he currently serves on the boards of Path, Sonos, Lookout, Hortonworks, Soundcloud, Big Switch Networks, Zuora, Foodily, and Storsimple. Mike is also on the board of Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC). Mike was previously a Director of Cloud.com (now part of Citrix). Mike...
Joint Founder of The Accelerator Group (TAG), an investor in early stage technology companies. TAG invests from its own balance sheet via its investment vehicles Local Globe I,II,III and IV.