It was well-known that ex-Index VC Ophelia Brown was ‘doing a fund of her own’ after she departed Robin and Saul Klein’s LocalGlobe in April, the London-based seed investment firm where she was a General Partner. However, it wasn’t until last month that Blossom Capital, as Brown’s new firm is called, broke cover.
As reported by Business Insider, Brown has teamed up with former Uber China executive Candice Lo, ex-Index investment team member Imran Ghory, and Deliveroo’s chief technology officer Mike Hudack to start the new VC fund. Blossom Capital is thought to be targeting a raise of between $75 million and $100 million, and could have a first closing and official launch soon.
Now, thanks to a newly updated website and conversations I’ve had with sources close to the new VC firm, more details have emerged. (Brown declined to comment when contacted by TechCrunch.)
Noteworthy, despite Brown’s seniority in terms of venture capital experience, the Blossom website also lists Lo, Ghory, and Hudack as co-founders of the fund. That said, Hudack will remain as CTO at Deliveroo and a full time employee of the food ordering and delivery company. “His role at Deliveroo isn’t changing,” a source with knowledge of the situation tells me.
I also understand that while the fund is targeting early stage tech startups, its remit is Series A not seed, a departure from Brown’s work at LocalGlobe. The new firm wants to plug what it deems a ‘Series A gap’. In Europe, promising and high quality founders often get funded by great angel investors and at seed but sometimes struggle at Series A due to a shortage of capital at that stage.
Similarly, I’m told Blossom wants to do Series A rounds of $5 million-plus (i.e. more in line with Silicon Valley) and in turn help companies have enough runway to give them 18 months or more and expand globally. “[They’re] trying to push the European ecosystem forward, it’s about true high conviction investing,” is how one source frames it.
However, just like basically every other new VC firm these days, not least in Europe, Blossom’s website also talks up the firm’s entrepreneur friendliness and operational experience — although in Lo and Hudack‘s case it is somewhat warranted. Along with Deliveroo, Hudack was also at Facebook in California pre-IPO and at Facebook in London a bit later. Lo, of course, had a major role at Uber.
The Blossom website also makes virtue of the firm’s openness to cold pitching in a bid to find promising companies that might not have the investor network or time required to produce warm introductions. And whilst I doubt the four VCs will struggle too much with deal flow, it’s good to see a lack of aloofness, on paper at least, and perhaps points to Brown’s commitment to diversity. Ultimately, however, the proof will be in the backgrounds of the founders it backs.
In addition to Blossom, Brown has founded ALT (Ambitious Ladies in Tech), described as a mentor network that endeavours to help women in technology startups achieve their career goals through coaching, skills development and networking. But, as well as being 50 percent female founded, I’m told Blossom is keen to be perceived as diverse in the broader sense.
“This is not about being a female-led [firm],” says a source close to the fund. “It’s a truly diverse team (gender, ethnicity) which is how investment teams should be in order to make the best investment decisions and to give the best all-rounded support to a portfolio”.
To that end, the Blossom website lists two portfolio companies, suggesting the new VC is already in the market doing deals. They are YC startup Spell, which provides infrastructure for “AI and Deep Learning”, and Fat Lama, a sharing economy-styled marketplace for renting out various items you own.