Back in June Brent Hoberman, who famously founded and floated Lastminute.com, unveiled his new investment vehicle . The first $60m close for ‘firstminute Capital’ was announced then with Atomico being the cornerstone investor. The fund was also backed by 28 unicorns founders. In the end, it turned out to be oversubscribed and they can now announce a second close for the fund. This has brought in the huge China-based company, Tencent. The new total of the fund announced today is $85m.
The new pan-European seed fund is co-founded by Brent Hoberman and Spencer Crawley will look to invest between $250 – 750k in early stage technology businesses across Europe.
The fund is a shot in the arm for a UK now pretty punch-drunk from bad news about Brexit. It’s also unusual to have attracted Chinese capital to both firstminute and Founders Factory, Hoberman’s corporate accelerator venture.
In a statement a spokesperson said: “We especially like industries of the future: Medtech, fintech,robotics, govtech,and startups with strong SAAS, data, AI focus. We are cousins with Founders Forum and its subsidiaries. We also have similar heritage to Founders Factory. The fund will strengthen our role at the heart of early stage global tech and how it gets is oxygen from super angels, serial entrepreneurs, and strategic global corporates.
Brent Hoberman, Executive Chairman, firstminute capital, said: “We believe that emerging European technology startups will continue to excite, and build on the momentum that has seen 47 unicorn companies built in Europe in the last 10 years. We hope to help the next generation of top entrepreneurs, both with our reach and by giving them credibility and support. We will invest not just in the UK, but across Europe. We aimed to raise $60m for our first fund, and are happy to have achieved that and closed oversubscribed at $85m, which we see as a strong signal for European technology. We believe the fund represents an unparalleled wealth of expertise to deliver on this promise.”
Niklas Zennström, Partner and CEO at Atomico, said: “Brent is a pioneer of technology entrepreneurship in Europe. For two decades he has done more than most to find, support and encourage Europe’s best founders. That’s why we were so pleased he became one of our Entrepreneur Partners last year and it’s why, when Brent told us about firstminute, we wanted to be his first investor. We share a firm belief in the future of Europe’s technology ecosystem so we’re excited to be part of this new fund as it backs Europe’s most promising early stage founders.”
The details in the statement:
• Second institutional investor: Tencent
• Entrepreneurs: Frederic Mazzella (BlaBlaCar), Fritz Demopoulus (Qunar), Wes Nichols (MarketShare)
• Other: Sir Paul Ruddock (Chairman of Oxford University Endowment Fund), Alex de Carvalho (Heineken board member, co-founder of Public.io), John Taysom etc
• Chinese investors (including Tencent): Nan Fung Group (assets across shipping, textiles, real estate and an increasingly large tech portfolio), Cheung Chung-Kiu (President of CC Land, which bought the Leadenhall for £1.15bn earlier this year)
• Advisory Board members:
• Pete Flint (co-founder of Trulia)
• Jean-Francois Decaux (co-CEO of the €6bn listed entity, JCDecaux)
• Hanzade Dogan (Chairwoman of Dogan Online, largest media group in Turkey, and founder of Hepsiburada, largest ecommerce platform in the region)
• Mattias Ljungman (Atomico, co-founder)
• Geographic spread of entrepreneurs (US, China, Israel, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey etc) – reflects broad geographical investment mandate and will contribute to healthy flow of ex-UK dealflow.
• Team: first junior hire made, Lina Wenner; 3 more hires to be announced by year-end.