Today Thema, a London-based, Pan-European-focused VC fund investor, has publicly launched its venture fund platform to support and provide capital to first-time fund managers to start their own venture capital business.
Entering into the VC space often involves significant barriers in terms of capital, resources and insights, limiting accessibility.
In recent years, only 8 percent of European VCs have any operational experience compared to 60 percent in the US, which in the opinion of the team behind launching Thema, is a crucial experience when working and investing into portfolio companies.
Thema aims to address these challenges by extending its reduced setup costs and operational package to the wider market, resulting in an average reduction of first-year costs by 41 percent, as per Thema’s analysis of comparable market offerings. The approach aims to enhance meritocracy within the VC industry.
The firm will support and enable emerging managers to launch venture capital strategies, providing them with an all-in-one package.
Thema will act as a strategic cornerstone limited partner, writing first tickets of up to £5 million, operational and regulatory support, office space and curated LP insights. Thema plans to commit to four funds annually for the next three years.
The initiative targets fund managers with existing strong track records as venture capitalists, angel investors, ex-entrepreneurs and/or senior operators and community builders from the UK and Europe looking to launch their own standalone VC fund as GPs for the first time.
The company is co-founded by Sam Ettelaie, who worked for the UK's largest limited partner — the British Business Bank — for over six years; and George Askew, an emerging manager and an operationally experienced VC, building, investing and launching companies, including Cell Capital, Force Over Mass, and European Travel Ventures.
According to Sam Ettelaie:
"At Thema, we empower talented individuals to launch their VC entity. We’re making the process of raising a fund fairer, so those with the best idea can make them a reality.
One of the key reasons for setting up Thema was to address the barriers to entry associated with setting up a VC entity, including diversity and socioeconomic factors, while maintaining a transparent and level playing field.
Beyond providing financial backing as an LP, our team is focused on sharing expertise and offering support to all our partners. We are excited to help our partners in the early stages of their growth journey bringing visionary strategies to life.”
George Askew, Co-founder and Partner at Thema added:
“Having been an emerging manager, I witnessed first-hand the operational complexity of running a fund, and how much time this draws from investment activity.
A platform and programme like Thema didn't exist, so we've built it. Whilst Family Offices have increased their exposure to Venture as an asset class in the last ten years, there is still a long way to go in understanding the opportunity and benefits with emerging managers.”
Lead image: Sam Ettelaie and George Askew, co-founders of Thema. Photo: uncredited.