According to a Forward Partners and Landscape VC report, almost half (47%) of all founders considering value-add more important than a VC firm's brand and portfolio. And yet, 92% of investors consider themselves adding value to their portfolio companies, while 61% of founders rated this value add experience “below average”.
Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that according to Plural, just 8% of investors are former operators, whereas more than half of tech investors in the US possess this experience.
In order to offset this imbalance, four recognisable industry figures Ian Hogarth, Khaled Heloui, Sten Tamkivi, and Taavet Hinrikus have established Plural, a fund whose LPs are comprised exclusively of former founders and operators, all possessing significant company-building experience. The team is expected to expand to 10 'unemployables' by years' end.
“We’re the investors we would have liked to have when we were building our own companies,” comments Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. “Founding a company is a craft and the best way to learn that craft is to work alongside those who have done it before.”
Individually, the quartet has paid their success forward, becoming investors themselves, counting Deliveroo, Hopin, Pipedrive, Chorus, Uber, Zego, and Bolt amongst their portfolios.
As a combined force, launching with an initial €250 million, Plural is aimed at supporting early-stage startups with ticket sizes ranging between €1 and €10 million. Thus far, the firm has invested in 14 companies including Feather, NFTport an NFT infrastructure company, energy storage company Field, metaverse company Ready Player Me, and student banking challenger MOS.
‘We call experienced founders 'unemployables', because once you've experienced the intense authorship that comes with creating something new it's hard to work for anyone again,” commented Hogarth. “We created Plural to give unemployables a place to call home and put their entrepreneurial energy behind missions and founders they deeply believe in.”
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