The next firm stepping up to take part in tech.eu's reverse pitch is PUBLIC. PUBLIC was founded by Daniel Korski and Alex de Carvalho in 2016. The firm is focused on supporting companies at the intersection of technology and governance. PUBLIC has had a prolific 2019, backing investments in the UK, France and Germany at pre-seed, seed and Series A. PUBLIC's recent investments include Polyteia, from Germany, a smart governance platform helping cities and towns make smarter decisions with data. Another investment supports France's Manty, a business intelligence platform for public administration. PUBLIC is headquartered in London, UK, and maintains offices in Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen.
PUBLIC is also behind the Govtech Summit 2019. I connected with the PUBLIC team to learn more about their investment approach and their recent European investments.
Can you summarize your investment thesis in three sentences?
PUBLIC backs technology startups looking to transform the public sector and improve the lives of citizens. We believe new technology can help governments provide better, cheaper and more user-centred services, making life easier for citizens and service-providers alike. Tech startups have transformed every part of our private sector lives - now it’s time for them to transform the public sector.
What industries and business models are you most interested in investing in?
We concentrate on GovTech startups - but this is a very broad remit and can span in verticals from health and fintech to defence and transport. We also look at a wide range of business models, including B2C, as not all GovTech companies are B2B or B2G.
Which technologies do you find most exciting right now, and why?
Government buyers often say ‘I care about the problem you solve and how well you solve it; what you use to solve it isn’t important’. In some ways we have similar view when backing GovTech companies. Artificial intelligence and Internet of Things have huge capability to transform the public sector. But ultimately, we want to know that you understand and can solve a large public sector problem and make everyone’s lives better by doing so.
How much do you typically invest?
We predominantly invest through our accelerator programme GovStart and this will range depending on the size of the company GovStart.
Beyond funding, where does PUBLIC provide the most “value-add” for founders?
PUBLIC’s leadership team features multiple individuals with large public sector experience and know-how. As such, we have the largest public sector network of any VC in Europe, as well as the most knowledge of how to approach public sector sales - both in strategy and procurement expertise. Now that we have offices across Europe - London, Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen - we are supporting companies scale across borders as well. This is most pertinently evidenced by our annual GovTech Summit: an event the bring together innovators with decision makers from across Europe, with a view to sparking the conversations and connections needed to accelerate adoption of new ideas and technologies. Our next Summit is coming up in November and we’re hoping to top last year’s line-up, which saw 800 start-up leaders join politicians including Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Sadiq Khan.
Do you have any geographic restrictions on investments?
We work with all geographies, with a focus on Europe.
PUBLIC’s Recent Investments
|Birdie||UK||Social Care||B2B & B2C||Series A|
|BookB||UK||Culture & Media||B2C||Pre-Seed|
|Cap Collectif||France||CivTech||B2B||Series A|
|Cyan Forensics||UK||Security||B2B||Series A|
|Manty||France||Smart City||B2B||Series A|
|Nepos||Germany||Social Care||B2B & B2C||Seed|
|New Vector||France||Communications||B2B||Series A|
|Polyteia||Germany||Smart City||B2B||Series A|
|Vine Health||UK||Health||B2B & B2C||Seed|
What is your commitment to diversity and inclusion?
We are proud to now have a 50-50% gender split to the PUBLIC team. This, and the need for greater diversity in our team, has been something we have focussed on and discussed at length in away days and team meetings over the two years. We make active efforts to ensure that the tops stages of our funnel are constantly supplied with female founders and founders from diverse backgrounds. We also take efforts to ensure our accelerator application process and hiring processes are as bias free as possible.
What’s one investment from your Anti Portfolio that you wish you hadn’t passed up?
Luckily not too many so far!
If you could invest in any type of business or technology right now (real or imagined) what would that be?
LegalTech and GovTech are two sectors that should overlap more, and we are really keen to find companies in the LegalTech space that have dynamic applications for the public sector.
What is the best way for founders to get in touch?
Feel free to email us on [email protected] We are always keen to set-up time for a coffee and a chat, or we can show you round our new GovTech co-working space.
Thank you PUBLIC!
PUBLIC's 2019 Govtech Summit will take place in Paris on November 14th. Tickets are still available here.
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