Emblem, the latest European seed fund to join the new wave of VC funds, is now available
There is a new seed money available for startups in France, Denmark and Sweden. Emblem is announcing today that it has raised nearly $54 million (€50 million) for a new European seed fund. And this is only the first close — the firm expects to raise as much as $80 million (€75 million) by the end of the year.
Emblem was founded by Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan and Guillaume Durao. This isn’t the first time Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan’s name appears on TechCrunch as she used to be an entrepreneur herself. Clustree was her first startup. back in 2014.
Clustree, a talent management platform and HR platform, was acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand. Some business angels like Frédéric Montagnon and Florian Douetteau were quite instrumental in Clustree’s trajectory, so she started investing in startups herself after selling Clustree.
Guillaume Durao has been a long-time investor. He has worked at Mangrove Capital Partners, Idinvest (the VC company that is now part Eurazeo). Durao is a Danish native, and both of his partners are French. Durao has also been a business angel, investing some of his own money.
Before launching Emblem, Durao and de Raphélis Soissan have already built an interesting portfolio of angel investments. They invested in the crypto trading card game SorareStart a pet insurance company Dalma A company that grows and produces cultivated meat Gourmey. They also invested in other French startups. Growblocks And All Gravy Denmark Ark Kapital And Goals Sweden and other countries
Next, a real seed fund with more capital is the next step. Emblem wants to lead or co-lead seed investments with a typical investment ranging between €500,000 and €3 million. The firm hopes to invest in 25-30 tech companies from its initial fund.
While Emblem lists a few verticals, such as AI, B2B SaaS, fintech, future of work and digital health, the firm doesn’t have a specific focus on some industries. It’s a generalist tech seed fund.
As for the firm’s backers, Emblem managed to raise funds from the Danish sovereign fund Vaekstfonden, institutional investors like Edenred, several French and Nordic family offices, as well as tech entrepreneurs looking for investment opportunities. Emblem was founded by Dixa and Falcon, Kantox Peakon, PeopleDoc. Pleo, Qonto. Silae. Spendesk. Swile.
Emblem stands out among other French VC firms because of two key features. It focuses on French startups but also Swedish or Danish startups. “Paris, Copenhaguen and Stockholm are the three most interesting startup hubs after London and Berlin,” Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan told me.
Second, Emblem doesn’t want to become an early stage fund that also invests in Series A rounds or even later. Sure, the firm will allocate a portion of its fund for follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies — but that’s it.
“We are going to have an exclusive focus on seed. The idea is that we are not going to raise a bigger fund and start investing in Series A rounds,” de Raphélis Soissan said.
The new wave of micro-finances in Europe
It’s hard to describe what a micro fund is. Every other aspect of VC firms’ fundraising increases in size, and everything starts to look more like a microfund.
Emblem can be larger than a microfund. But there are a handful of individuals raising new funds with €5 million, €10 million or €15 million under management. The same trend that was evident in America a few years back is also emerging in Europe.
During my discussion with Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan, we talked about some of these new funds. Carmen Alfonso Rico and Anthony Danon, for instance, have been very active with these funds. Cocoa. Gloria Baeuerlein Beyond Capital is a new fund that was created by him. Pietro Invernizzi Currently raising his own fund.
I’ve also covered some bigger funds that have popped up over the past year or so, such as Resonance, Ovni Capital And Galion.exe. Then, there are also Teampact Ventures And Origins.
While we’re currently going through a tech downturn, it’s interesting to see that there are More There are many options for early stage funding in Europe. Each fund has its investment thesis. These new partners can also tap into their network, which should open up more opportunities for the entire tech ecosystem.