There’s a new seed fund in town, but with a familiar name. Galion, a collective of tech entrepreneurs who network and learn from each other, is launching an investment arm called Galion.exe. They have already raised €30 million ($33 million at today’s exchange rate) and aim to reach a total fund size of €60 to €80 million ($66 million to $88 million).
Originally founded in 2015, The Galion Project started as a sort of think tank for the tech community. For instance, they came up with a template for a fair term sheet.
“Jean-Baptiste Rudelle was convinced that we would have more unicorns in the French tech ecosystem,” Galion co-founder and CEO Agathe Wautier told me. “The goal was to share as much as possible to think bigger and go faster. Very quickly, we created the think tank. We put together a knowledge base with several reports and tools for entrepreneurs, made by entrepreneurs.”
That project is still going well as there are currently 400 active members in the Galion community. In order to join this community, you have to prove that you have raised at least €3 million, you need to be invited by two Galion peers and you need to pay €2,000 every year.
But very quickly, some entrepreneurs in the community became business angels. Some of them wanted to work together on deals and form syndicates.
“At some point, there was so much demand that we thought we had to do something ourselves,” Wautier said.
Around the same time, Willy Braun and Kevin Kuipers left another Paris-based VC fund, Daphni. Chloé Monneyron joined the pair as an associate VC and they all started working on Galion’s investment fund.
They first started raising Galion.exe from the Galion community. I’m told the barrier to entry was quite low as you could participate in the fund with the minimum legal amount for this kind of investment.
In addition to those individual investors, Galion.exe will round up its fund with more traditional limited partners, such as institutional investors, family offices, private banks, etc.
“When we left Daphni, we had a strong thesis on seed rounds. When you look at the amount and number of deals, everything has doubled from Series A rounds and beyond,” Braun told me. But the same isn’t necessarily true for seed rounds.
Galion.exe now plans to invest in a dozen companies every year and fill that seed gap in France. The team will be able to invest anything between €700,000 and €2.5 million so that they can lead the seed round without any co-investor (even though they don’t exclude co-investments altogether).
“For the first time, seed-stage companies will be able to join the Galion community,” Kuipers told me.
And that could be a win-win for everyone involved. Portfolio companies will be able to learn from peers, get introductions and apply some best practices. And Galion.exe could convince early-stage startups to sign a term sheet with them based on that argument alone.