What started off in Vienna as €10 million micro fund with macro ideas, 11 years later, Speedinvest has announced a raise of €500 million, giving the fund over €1 billion in assets under management. Carrying on with a thesis that’s allowed its previous three funds to deliver more than 5x in gross returns, Speedinvest will continue to support European startups with pre-seed and seed-stage funding.
Ticket sizes are expected to range around the €600,000 mark for pre-seed investments, and €1.5 to €2 million for seed-stage companies, the firm is looking to add approximately 100 companies to its portfolio, and is building upon its specialisations in deeptech, fintech, healthtech, marketplaces and consumer, industrialtech, and SaaS.
Now in its fourth iteration, all institutional investors that backed v3 are on board for v4, with major commitments arriving via New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the European Investment Fund (EIF), and Bpifrance (both from its own funds as well as its Digital Fund of Funds), as well as a number of globally recognised government funds, banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and large family offices.
Speaking to the success of not only the fund’s financial returns but of the support they provide their portfolio companies, according to Speedinvest, a number of founders including those from Bitpanda, GoStudent, Billie, Planetly, TWAICE, and Yokoy have contributed to this raise.
The €500 million is split and then split again - €200 million of the new fund has been earmarked for follow-on co-investments, while €150 million will see new deal activity, and €150 million reserved for follow-on investments in these newcomers to the Speedinvest family.
A US Office?
As we’ve seen of late, the large keep getting larger, the small keep getting smaller, and in the case of Speedinvest, the medium is now getting large. With offices in Offices in Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, and Vienna, not to mention longtime Speedinvest LP New Enterprise Associates clearly waving the Stars and Stripes, I’m left wondering if the Viennese have any plans to plant their own flag on US soil?
“Absolutely, totally not,” said Speedinvest managing partner Oliver Holle. “If I learned anything in the last 11 years in venture, brand is super important, and you want to be in the best deals possible, and you want to see yourself in the top 3 funds that founders want to work with in any particular geography. I think we have a very good shot to be that in Europe, a very good shot to be that in emerging markets. It’s a big world out there and we don’t need to start from zero in the US.”
NEA managing general partner Scott Sandell echos this sentiment, “Speedinvest is a sought-after partner for growing companies across Europe's startup ecosystem, with an approach to company building for the long-term that is very much aligned with NEA's. As we deepen our firm's commitment to the region, our long-term partnership with Speedinvest continues to be among our most valuable in Europe."
Look at the Numbers
There once was a time when a fund bringing in €500 million would cause eyeballs to hit the floor, but in today’s atmosphere of €1 billion+ funds being announced, almost each and every one of them promises founders, “ hands-on support they need to scale. Speedinvest’s in-house Platform+ team and global network of experts will continue to offer portfolio companies free, tailored operational support in the areas they need it most.” Yawn.
I asked Holle about this point blank. What makes Speedinvest different? What gives him the confidence to count Speedinvest amongst the top 3 on founders' minds when it comes time to seek funding, and more importantly, the critical “value add”?
“First of all, look beyond the marketing, and look at the numbers. Look at the website and look at the teams and look at the numbers. At Speedinvest we have 40+ people on the investment side and another 10 just on the platform side. Then compare that with the typical seed fund, maybe 10 people with 1, 1 and a half on the platform side,” said Holle, and with a nod and a smile added, “Assuming that our people are not significantly more stupid than everybody else, it should make a difference.
What this means, what it translates into is expertise because we have 40 investors split between six teams, we have at least five people doing nothing but healthtech, for example. So, is it safe to assume for a healthtech founder that this team can actually help you with specific expertise if they have 25 to 30 healthtech investments? I think it’s fair to say yes.”
Speedinvest 4 has already been deployed in at least five companies, at least the ones that Speedinvest wants to make public. They include Autone (SaaS, Italy), Drop (Fintech, France / US), Solvo.ai (Deep Tech, UK), The Lowdown (Digital Health, UK), and NeoCarbon (Industrial Tech, Germany).