This VC firm wants to fund the best night of your life

BNVC is a catalyst for the best nights that create happiness.
This VC firm wants to fund the best  night of your life

What is the best night of your life? 

Was it summer or winter? What were you doing? Where were you? 

It likely involved a memorable location — new or familiar — people, and perhaps amazing food, possibly the haze of alcohol or another erm, stimulant, and/or entertainment. 

It probably wasn't spent alone at home on your laptop or mobile phone. 

But what will your best night look like in 2030? 

Lorrain de Silva, managing director at Best Nights VC (BNVC), believes that in 2030, nightlife won't be digital, alone at home wearing VR glasses. 

He shared:

"There can be certain events in which VR and AR are crucial, but it's not replacing night life. People should sweat; people should come together in person."

 Best Nights VC (BNVC) was established in 2021 as the rebranded VC unit of Mast-Jägermeister SE,

It works to seek out startups pioneering new approaches, enhancing experiences, and enabling more social experiences for people pursuing their best nights.  

It was founded in Berlin, the city with the most foreign startup founders outside of Silicon Valley. 

However, venture investment in nightlife differs from investing in a venue or club night and focuses on investment in community building. 

Community driven impact 

BNVC believes that behind every great night out is some kind of community.

De Silva shared: 

"We like to invest in community-driven businesses, and while investing in communities, you address groups of people who then benefit from the value of the service or the product and the community behind them."

De Silva asserts that the businesses BNVC invests in serve their 

 subcultures, audiences, and niches. 

"Either they become very successful and, ideally, create a trend or mainstream that meets profitability. Or they may not survive, as it is in the venture world. But until then, they impacted their environment and culture positively. And this is what we're after." 

De Silva views nightlife as the mother of culture. "It's somewhere to find yourself. For some, nightlife is a state of retreat from others, a form of resistance. That story needs a voice."

The BNVC team. No blue shirts here! 

The global BNVC portfolio encompasses underground, pop culture and current trends. It is broken down into three major areas: bringing communities together, hosting the night, and breaking down barriers, such as sustainable fashion rental. 

Every one of BNVC's portfolio companies is measured in terms of the impact that it creates and how its business model contributes to social interactions in real life. For example, 

Thursday (London) offers a solution to dating app fatigue. Every Thursday, for 24 hours only, the app comes to life and shows you who you want to date that day. Hyper-local in-person events on a Thursday are an opportunity to bring those people together. 

Realtainment (Berlin) facilitates create-it-yourself social education, such as art nights. Date night, anyone?

ArtNight offers group "create it yourself" experiences. Photo: Realtainment. 

SOUNDBOKS (Copenhagen) builds the loudest portable and durable speaker for parties and more party equipment to enable a party anytime, anywhere. Much better than the guy I see jogging around my local park holding a ghetto blaster on one hand and a beer in the other. 

With SOUNDBOKS you can create a party anywhere.

Woov (Amsterdam) offers a solution for festivals to create their app with little effort, including a map, chat, timetable, and on-site payment functions.  

Woov's all-in-one festival app. You'll never lose your friends.

De Silva shared: 

"The founders share our vision of making live entertainment more fun, inclusive and diverse.

We look for cultural relevance. This means a community or group benefits from the service offering and has a better experience.

And the bigger the culture, the stronger the relevance and the more we are willing to invest in them and develop professional business models." 

Funding a traditionally cash-strapped sector

The company deals with experienced entrepreneurs who have typically hosted events and managed artists for decades. 

"But they don't have the MBA and the business school mindset to build a unicorn, but they build something that has meaning and relevance. 

My idea was to bring product innovation within venture capital. We see a lot of investors addressing fundamental and good business models and impact measures in terms of areas like sustainability, healthtech and gender equity. 

But there is one industry that lacks in terms of access to funds — the cultural and creative space."

It's a space where De Silva is familiar, having worked on festivals and events and a stint at MTV Networks in Berlin. 

Thereby, he understands the unique challenges facing nighttime entertainment-focused businesses.  

He explained: 

"There are two camps: the financial capitalist and the cultural activist. Both parties don't understand each other that well, but they need each other. 

And we are bridging culture and tech by speaking both languages and knowing what is needed to raise funds and if a particular business model needs more cash than it generates." 

This augments the traditional public funding, cultural funders, business angels, bank loans and family and friend loans. 

"We help these businesses grow and scale, and our main priority is building a reputation as a trusted investor within that space and maintaining our credibility and authenticity by not following the fast, exit-driven businesses. 

We're looking for constant and moderate growth."

Authentic and unique 

Even the company's recruitment seeks a glimpse into the best nights, asking applicants, "What was your best night?" 

De Silva stresses:

"The purpose is not about if it's cool or not. It's about whether this person is authentic. Are they brave enough to tell me his best night instead of giving me a case study about a learning epiphany after meeting a mentor?" 

Notably, BNVC is the only firm of its kind, and interest is in hot demand. 

Last year, it considered 600 startups, co-investing in three and joining forces with VCs such as Y-Combinator, General Catalyst, Lightspeed, Heartcore and Female Founders Fund.

"The proof of concept we have works, and it may become a blueprint for other firms following in our footsteps. This is not a threat; it's the biggest compliment I could get."

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