European VC Creandum Closes New €180M Early-Stage Fund

I can barely keep up with the amount of new venture capital sloshing around Europe, as new funds are closed. And, if my sources are correct, we aren’t done yet. The latest to close a new fund is Stockholm and Palo Alto-based Creandum.

‘Creandum IV’ is a €180 million early-stage fund, and will be primarily targeting seed and Series A investments, but also follow-on rounds, in Internet and software startups across Europe.

As is becoming a theme these days, Creandum will be on the look out for companies that can impact large markets, including reaching out to the U.S., something the VC, who is perhaps best known for being an early backer of Spotify, is well-placed to help with given it has an office and partners based in Silicon Valley.

For reference, Creandum’s previous fund, ‘Creandum III’ was €135 million in size and has invested in more than 30 companies, with half being at seed stage.

I’m also told this latest fund closed in record time for a European VC, a matter of months, as LPs in the U.S. and Europe are becoming more bullish regarding the European tech scene and its potential to build true market leaders and demand billion dollar-plus exits.

In a call, Creandum General Partner Staffan Helgesson said that “tech is nowhere, tech is everywhere,” echoing the theme that digital technology is impacting every facet of our lives and therefore every industry.

In the future we won’t necessarily think of a business as a technology company in the sense that every company will have technology or online at its heart or it will become extinct.

“What we and entrepreneurs should do is look for those huge markets and find ways of using Internet and software to transform them,” he says.

One area where Creandum sees a lot of potential is the food market, with Helgesson noting that the grocery market in a country like Sweden is worth as much as the music industry as a whole, referencing the VC’s investment in both music streaming site Spotify — a global leader — and the regional recipe kit subscription service/e-commerce company Linas Matkasse.

Another example Helgesson says is the shipping industry and specifically what portfolio company Xeneta is doing. The Oslo, Norway-based startup offers a crowdsourced price comparison service for sea freight, and in doing so, is cracking open a huge legacy industry, but one that has until now remained opaque.

Asked about what areas of Europe — or what European hubs — Creandum has its eye on, he says the VC is pan-European and will go where the interesting opportunities are, though he talked up its home turf of the Nordics as remaining key. That’s because, according to the firm’s own research, the region has produced nearly 10 per cent of the world’s and 50 per cent of Europe’s billion dollar or ‘unicorn’ tech exits over the past 10 years.

Helgesson also told me the VC has recently recruited two new members to its investment team from Berlin. They are Simon Schminke, previously at Early Bird, and Bjarke Staun Olsen, who most recently ran Rocket Internet’s Vaniday, the beauty and wellness marketplace.