Robin and Saul Klein are the ‘father and son’ VCs behind the new LocalGlobe seed fund (website, twitter, Medium). Just recently they led a £1.1 million investment in online mortgage advisor Trussle.
It’s likely to be among the first of many.
Saul has been actively involved founding and investing in over 100 tech companies in London since at least 1994, Robin for, well, a little longer.
We decided to meet up with them and get an idea of how the fund will operate, what it’s like working with family, and where LocalGlobe plans to sit in the London and European investor ecosystem.
Saul admits he is more “conceptual”, says Robin, while Robin says he is more analytical. And they are both bullish about the Internet economy and startups, despite the global volatility in the market right now, and the potential downturn of some so-called “unicorns.”
In particular, Saul Klein is a passionate about London as a centre for investing across Europe. So much so that he’s written a blog post about it.
He says London is “so firmly on the map for startups and scale-ups.”
These include the fact that UK GDP is top 5% globally and growing; Internet as a percentage of national GDP is at the top of the G20; London speaks 300 languages; the UK is the largest market other than the US and China for all major tech companies because of the UK consumer’s higher propensity to be mass-market early adopters of technology;
Meanwhile, London has inherent and deep institutional strengths across both public and private sectors.
But let’s face it, a London-based VC would say that wouldn’t they. Still, it’s hard to argue with the empirical facts on the ground, with over £30bn of new value from the likes of ASOS, Betfair, JustEat, King, MoneySupermarket, Paysafe, Sophos, Rightmove, Markit, Mimecast, Worldpay and Zoopla.
Emerging stars include Deliveroo, Farfetch, Funding Circle, Shazam, Transferwise, Worldremit plus Skyscanner and FanDuel, admittedly in Scotland. They are joined by Citymapper, Datasift, Huddle, Improbable, Lyst, Moo, OneFineStay, Secret Escapes, Songkick and Swiftkey.
As Saul says, the fact that US tech firms have so much money on their balance sheets right now, that to acquire European tech startups is potentially a great opportunity.
How do they think they will compete in the market against many new seed funds? They aren’t worried about the competition “given the supply [of great startups] is so great” says Robin.
Plus they plan to take a co-operative approach to investing with other funds in Europe.
It’s fair to say that this long-time double-act is going to be around for some time longer in Europe.