As the tech industry across Europe continues to grow and develop, so is the continent's early-stage investment vehicle par excellence.
Seedcamp, the 'startup accelerator' that has been morphing into something of a proper seed VC fund for a few years now, is accelerating that transition with the first close of fundraising for its third fund, with many familiar names participating in the process.
Based in the UK but open for startups from across Europe, Seedcamp has secured an initial $28 million of a $30 million round to expand its operations, enable it to make bigger and bolder moves, and to further build its presence in the United States (and not just with 'field trips').
Worth noting: roughly half of the round will come from the European Investment Fund, a part of the European Investment Bank dedicated to supporting research and innovation in the EU (although the EIB does some of that on its own as well).
The rest comes from a rather large group of professional investment funds (including Index Ventures, Connect Ventures, WhiteStar Capital, Credo Ventures and Caixa Capital), individual angel investors (including Skyscanner's Barry Smith, TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus and Teleport CEO Sten Tamkivi), and companies such as Yandex, DC Thomson and Foley & Lardner.
Seedcamp bills the third fund as 'Seedcamp 2.0', which will see it back more than 100 startups over the next four years (about as much as they've financed in total so far, after its inception seven years ago) and allow it take out more cash for follow-on investments than was previously the case.
With the fresh capital injection, Seedcamp will be able to still make a first small investment in a startup but also invest $250,000 or more in the most promising ventures. Its now vast network of investors, mentors and network of entrepreneurs and angels in Europe and, increasingly, the US and Asia, will ensure that the Seedcamp portfolio companies with the most potential should have rather swift access to more capital down the line.
Already, Seedcamp says, its startups raise $1.6 million on average after completing its program.
From the press release:
Seven years ago, we set up Seedcamp to invest cash into a handful of startups each year, and to bring European founders and mentors into a cohesive ecosystem where we could all meet online and offline. Our mission was to accelerate European startups and to build a European ecosystem.
Today the game has changed. The problems that early accelerators, including Seedcamp, set out to address have either been resolved, or changed so much that a new solution is required. The ‘Art of the Start’ is now well honed in Europe. The challenge now is to master the ‘Art of Scale’, not least because European entrepreneurs’ ambitions have outgrown traditional forms of acceleration.
In our experience, providing the first $75,000 investment and a three-month program to support the growth of a $10m business is not good enough anymore. Breakout success is all about scale and getting the $200,000, $2M, and $20M of investment that will help build a $1B business.
(Full disclosure -- Seedcamp Partner Carlos Eduardo Espinal is an investor in the company behind tech.eu. In addition, I've mentored startups at Seedcamp events in the past, and I'm currently an advisor/shareholder of two of its portfolio companies, Maily and Checkthis / Frontback).
Featured image credit: Raphaël Labbé / Flickr