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Backed VC outs its “community-driven” €30M European seed-stage fund

TechCrunch TechCrunch 21/04/2016 Steve O'Hear

Another day, another new European VC fund. This time it’s the turn of London-based Backed VC, which today is officially outing its €30 million pan-European seed-stage fund, although it’s been active since last year and has already made several investments. The aim, founding partner Andre de Haes tells me, is to bring a more “community-driven” approach to VC.

It’s my understanding that this translates into both offering carry to anyone who sends a lead that then results in an investment (not just official Venture Partners, as is more typical VC operandi) and the way Backed is building a number of software platforms to better scale the VC fund.

The latter will provide a way to essentially crowdsource amongst its portfolio companies and wider network what might ordinarily be considered as operational support, which its two-person team wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide. This includes platforms to help with hiring, knowledge sharing, and content marketing.

To that end, along with de Haes, the newly outed VC’s other founder is Alex Brunicki. Both are just 28 years old and have known each other for 15 years, having spent time together at Oxford University, and then McKinsey & Company. De Haes also spent a short time at Index Ventures in London, and Andreessen Horowitz in Silicon Valley, either side of doing an MBA at Stanford, apparently.

In a call, he told me he aims to make Backed VC one of the most accessible firms in Europe and truly pan-European, although that’s something that all of the new VC kids on the block talk up. A community platform to help portfolio companies share knowledge isn’t entirely new either, such as the way Seedcamp and its ilk use tools such as Slack and Mobilize, but obviously it’s all in the details.

Meanwhile, Backed VC has already invested in 10 startups across 4 different countries, including music video streaming service Boiler Room, startup accelerator The Family, artificially-intelligent music composer Jukedeck, knitwear design platform Unmade, freelancer management system Lystable, children’s electronic kits manufacturer Tech Will Save Us and mobile gaming company Armada Interactive. Other portfolio companies remain in stealth mode.

To date, all of Backed VC’s deals, which will typically be in the €500,000 to €1 million range, have been co-investments with both European and U.S. funds, including Index Ventures, Connect Ventures, Valar and Floodgate. De Haes says moving forward, he and Brunicki plan to focus on industries where Europe leads Silicon Valley, citing the areas of fashion, music, gaming and fintech.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this fun fact: Backed VC closed its investment in Jukedeck the day before the startup won TechCrunch Disrupt London’s Battlefield competition in December, something De Haes says pleased the fund’s LPs greatly.

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