VC industry veterans Mike Chalfen, Simon Levene and Toby Coppel have today launched Mosaic Ventures. The newly launched ‘silicon valley style’ VC firm in London sets of with a $140 million fund. The fund is aimed at early-stage investments in Europe and specifically at the Series A stage of startup funding.
The three investors have formally invested in Alibaba, Criteo, Etsy and King. Alibaba just made the largest IPO in history, valued at $231 billion last Friday. Chalfen, Levene and Coppel have previously worked at leading VC firms Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Allen & Company and Apax Partners.
Why Europe? Why now?
The investors argue that now is the right time to invest in Europe. They list a number of reasons, among which:
- It’s for ambitious European entrepreneurs no longer necessary to relocate HQ to the US to become the leader in a market. “In fact, only two of the twenty European tech “unicorns” worth $1 billion + (and privately held) moved HQ to the US.”
- A ecosystem of serial entrepreneurs and alumni networks is emerging from successful European startups that have exited or are currently valued at over $100M.
- In Europe there is ‘plentiful’ sources of seed and angel capital, but relative to the US there is a lack of experienced early stage venture investors focused on Series A.
- Beyond Series A leading US venture funds are increasingly active overseas. Most of these US firms have 3–5 emerging European winners.
The investors have published on the firm’s website that they ‘Love renegades who take a fresh look at the world and want to shape it their way.’ Important for startup founders to know is that the investors have invested a ‘significant element’ of their own capital in the firm. They also state that they take a long term view in investing.
The company looks for the general important traits in the founder(s) and the team. It will invest in fewer than 10 companies a year in the areas (but not limited to):
- Next generation finance and payments
- Bitcoin and the blockchain
- SaaS for SMEs
A hint to what makes your product or services ‘investment worthy’ by these men in these markets is what they call ‘radical innovation’. Products and services that make customers evangelists and once using them they can’t imagine a world without them.
Photo Credit: Mosaic Ventures