Alven Capital raises $261 million fund to invest in French entrepreneurs


Image Credits:

French VC firm Alven Capital has been around since 2000 and has become a major player in the VC scene in Paris. The firm recently closed a brand new $261 million fund called Alven V (€250 million), which is a big step up as Alven IV was only a $125 million fund (€120 million).

Over the years, the firm has managed to invest in many successful startups led by French entrepreneurs. Alven Capital plans to do the same thing once again, but with more money in the bank account.

“This €250 million fund — we’re not going to start making very big Series B investments, we’re going to use it on Series A rounds,” partner Jérémy Uzan told me. “We usually shared our best investments with other investors. Now, we’re able to invest as much as €30 million on a single company.”

The firm plans to invest its fund across 20 to 25 companies, which is in line with Alven Capital’s previous fund. But the firm won’t need to co-lead an investment with a big British or American VC firm if it thinks that it’s going to a be a lucrative one.

Compared to many French VC firms, Alven Capital gets its funds from traditional limited partners that usually invest in private equity firms. Alven Capital doesn’t work with big public French companies or strategic investors. If you invest in the VC firm, it means that you’re looking for a good return on investment and nothing else.

All backers in Alven IV reinvested in Alven V — they represent around two-thirds of Alven V. New LPs also invested, as well as a few entrepreneurs from Alven portfolio companies — they represent a tiny portion of the fund. The firm doesn’t want to share the names of those entrepreneurs. “We don’t consider it as a marketing argument,” Uzan said.

Alven Capital raised its newest fund three years after Alven IV. Given that they had to turn down some LPs, the VC firm plans to raise new funds at the same pace in the future.

When it comes to the investment strategy, Alven Capital has always focused on early-stage investments in tech companies led by French founders. This time, the average investment will be a seed or Series A round ranging from €200,000 to €7 million, with the ability to invest €30 million in total in a single company over multiple rounds.

When you exclude VC firms that invest in Series B and later, Alven Capital says that it is now the largest French VC firm focusing on Series A and French entrepreneurs.

Why is Alven Capital talking about French entrepreneurs instead of French companies? According to Uzan, many French entrepreneurs can start a company in one country and end up in another — it doesn’t really matter to them. “Today, we realize that many French entrepreneurs consider borders as an afterthought,” he said.

Even more interesting, while most VC firms don’t talk about returns on investment, Alven Capital shared two tidbits about the firm’s performance. First, over the past 16 years, Alven Capital has had a gross internal rate of return above 30 percent every single year.

Second, while most of the investments in Alven IV are still active, some of the portfolio companies have already been acquired just a few years after Alven Capital’s initial investment. 7 out of the 25 companies have led to significant acquisitions with an average of 5x when it comes to returns on investment. Across all funds, Alven Capital has invested in 50 companies and 30 of them have found an exit.

There are currently six persons on the investment team — Guillaume Aubin, Charles Letourneur, Jérémy Uzan, Raffi Kamber, Rodolphe Menegaux and François Meteyer. The same team will manage the investments with Alven V.

We’ve covered some of these acquisitions over the years. Zendesk acquired BIME Analytics for $45 million, Trainline bought Captain Train for $189 million, Facebook snatched, etc. Alven Capital is also an investor in Algolia, Dataiku, PeopleDoc, Stripe, Drivy, etc. Even if some of those names don’t ring a bell, I can tell you without a doubt that Alven Capital has an impressive track record.

I’ve also asked about startup valuations getting more expensive in France. “Inflation is not so bad as long as inflation is across the board.” Now, let’s see if Alven Capital can find even bigger exits for its portfolio companies.

More TechCrunch

Ahead of the AI safety summit kicking off in Seoul, South Korea later this week, its co-host the United Kingdom is expanding its own efforts in the field. The AI…

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

11 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities