London-based No Label Ventures launched today. It’s a VC firm doing European pre-seed and seed deals with immigrant founders and supporting them with visa requirements.
Pre-Seed and Seed stage start-ups could get $150-250,000 in funding. They must have at least one founder who is a first or second-generation immigrant from outside Western Europe.
"There's a category of European start-ups that initially raises at 14% lower valuations with 24% less funding, but goes on to perform up to 70% better, and as a group of entrepreneurs, is set to triple over the next decade. This category is start-ups with one or more founders who are immigrants, people of colour, women, or otherwise under-represented," says No Label Venture founder Ramzi Rafih.
Rafih is an immigrant himself, his family left Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. He has had circa ten years experience with private equity firms KKR and Silver Lake and had been an angel investor in twenty start-ups, including Banked, Farmlead and Paylow - fifteen of which had diverse founding teams.
"Themes of resilience and over performance can be seen in immigrants and diverse teams, hence our bias and commitment to these entrepreneurs who may start their journeys underfunded, but frequently go on to win big," says Rafih.
The strategy is being backed by Rafih's former colleagues, founders he has backed, and successful immigrants. Among these early backers is George Roberts, Co-founder and Co-Executive Chairman of KKR. Investing in "high conviction, early-on, in outstanding immigrant founders" it "helps them solve critical obstacles they typically face, like visa and immigration, as well as access to angels, lead VCs, and target clients," Rafih adds.
Each founder backed by No Label Ventures will receive a share of profits generated by investee companies. The objective is to 'foster a culture of collaboration within the portfolio, which can be very powerful, especially in the context of backing immigrant founders with often similar journeys'.