There are rumours of a new European seed fund being built out of London right now, billing itself as a sort of “500 Startups of Europe”. Admittedly Hipster Ventures is a Seppuku-inducing name, but stay with us…
The idea is to whisk the best of European consumer web and mobile companies off to San Francisco to launch them on the West coast. The guy behind it is high profile freelance journalist and Telegraph columnist Milo Yiannopoulos (and former TC Europe freelancer), who appears to be dialling down on the journalism and dialling up a desire to become a VC of sorts.
Unfortunately he’s staying tight-lipped about the project, though word on the London streets is that he announced the project at a recent dinner recently attended by London entrepreneurs like Michael Acton Smith of the wildly successful Moshi Monsters and serial UK Angel investors like Sherry Coutu (though neither are our sources on this one).
The fund is rumoured to be heading towards a first close of $15m for late Summer. Not a lot, but then not a lot is really required for this seed level. The total fund target is not known. We’ve also heard that the fund might potentially attract a couple of associates and principals from one or two European VC funds – though that might just be FUD from the outfit, and Yiannopoulos is somewhat known for whipping up hype for his projects.
We’ve heard from sources that the fund plans will have a managing partner in London, while a technical partner and Yiannopoulos will be based in San Francisco in a sort of “light touch accelerator” to assist portfolio companies in getting to market.
Assuming it ever gets off the ground – I’m almost afraid to say it – this is actually quite a good idea.
Many European startups clamour for the scale the US market can offer them, but have little experience launching there, nor much idea how to build buzz in the crucial Bay Area early adopter market. Many European VCs are still operating a risk averse policy, even in these bubbly times. Even PROfounders Capital, which launched amid considerable fanfare given the calibre of its investors, has turned out to be more Series A oriented. So there could be plenty of takers for this kind of “fund+acceleration” in the US aimed specifically at Europeans.
A Twitter account (@HipsterVentures) has appeared online but that’s all there is to it.
Like I said – not a bad idea.
[Update: Some comments below post-moderated for legal reasons]