Venture Capital/Analysis/

All the VC fund of funds you need to know in Europe

Europe now has over a dozen funds backing VCs

By Eleanor Warnock

Molten Ventures's fund of funds team: Dave Neumann, Jonathan Sibilia and Mohadeseh Abdullahi (photo credit Paul Clarke).

Backing individual VC funds isn’t the only way investors can get access to VC.

They can also invest in VC fund of funds — vehicles that invest in multiple VC funds — and there’s a growing number of them in Europe. 

These funds can help get LPs — limited partners, the investors in VC funds — access to competitive top-tier funds, and better returns through diversity. But they’re also seen as important actors in the ecosystem’s maturation. 

The European Commission — when it announced its €2.1bn fund of funds strategy several years ago — argued that a lack of VC funding is holding European tech back; it cited the fact that US VC firms were three times larger than European ones on average. 

Fund of funds like Multiple and Isomer are also playing an important role in helping the next generation of investors get on their feet by specifically backing first-time or emerging managers. Some may also co-invest — in other words, invest directly in startups alongside the managers they back — often helping get deals over the line. 

We’ve compiled a list of European-headquartered fund of funds (FoF) and VCs with fund of funds strategies that are backing VCs in the region and beyond. If we have missed anyone, please email [email protected]

A few notes on the structure of this list: 

  • We have not included state or government funds like the European Investment Fund.  
  • We did not include fund of funds headquartered in other regions, despite the fact that there are many US fund of funds active in European VC. 
  • Many VCs invest in other funds but do not have a public strategy or a separate vehicle to do these investments. We’ve excluded these. 

Aldea Ventures — Spain

A Barcelona-based fund of funds. 

Date of founding: started operations in September 2020.

Number of funds backed to date: Backed 29 micro funds from 24 European VC firms with its first fund, including Cocoa Ventures, Air Street Capital, Faber Ventures, Nina Capital, helloworld, Amino Collective, Silence VC, Moonfire, Lunar Ventures, Possible Ventures, Green Generation Fund and Semantic. The firm defines micro VCs as ones with €25m to €100m fund size.

Geography: Europe. The fund has backed funds based in 10 geographies so far including the UK, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Estonia, Spain and Portugal.

Back emerging managers? Yes. Backing emerging managers is the firm’s strategy; 15 of the 29 funds backed were debut funds.

Co-investments? Yes. “Our funds invest mostly in pre-seed and seed stages. We follow closely their portfolios and we are very active in co-investing with them as soon as one exceptional portfolio company is raising a Series A+, Series B round. We have done at least 10 direct deals under that model,” the team says.

How should managers pitch you? “In 2022 we reviewed 170+ emerging funds in Europe. Most of these emerging managers come to us by prescription of our GP community. We are always happy to talk with new fund managers and they can reach out to us through email at [email protected]

All Iron Ventures — Spain

A Spanish VC founded by former founders that also launched a fund of funds in 2022. 

Date launched fund of funds strategy: 2022

Size of fund of funds vehicle: €30m

Number of funds backed to date: 10 investments closed and one pending completion as of January, 2023. Those include Hoxton Ventures, Left Lane Capital, Speedinvest, Crane Venture Partners, firstminute capital, Felix Capital and Northzone. 

Geography: Europe 

Back emerging managers? As an exception — established managers as a general rule.

Co-investments? No

How should managers pitch you? “Just reach out, preferably through a mutual connection.”

AlphaQ Venture Capital  — Germany

Date of founding: May 2022

Size of last fund of funds vehicle: €500m, an evergreen vehicle with a rolling close.

Number of funds backed to date: 6 VCs to date including White Star, Nucleus, Scale Venture Partners, Abstract Ventures, Signature.

Geography: Europe, US, Israel.

Back emerging managers? Yes

Co-investments? Yes  

How should managers pitch you? “Send us an email with their deck. If interested we schedule a call. We like small funds, relative to market size. We like focused funds with a clear thesis. We like managers with a proven track record. We like emerging managers with an institutional setup and clear LPAs [limited partner agreements]. We like access constraint funds that close within their planned timeline,” says founding partner Stephan Heller.

Arcano Partners — Spain

Date of launch of fund of funds strategy: 2020, although Arcano has been investing in VC since 2011 through a number of strategies and has deployed €600m in VC.
Size of FoF vehicle: The latest vehicle (Balboa Ventures I) is €100m. The firm is currently raising its next FoF programme (Balboa Ventures II) with a target size of €150m.
Number of funds backed to date: 45 funds from 20 different managers.
Geography: 60% US, 40% Europe and Israel.
Back emerging managers? Yes. “We are constantly looking for emerging managers with a clear competitive edge, strong team and very promising track record,” says investment director Paco Navas.
Co-investments? Yes, “But we have a restricted approach when it comes to co-investments. These opportunities normally come from GPs in our portfolio and among many other things, we need them to be an early investor in the company, very bullish about the opportunity and also looking to participate in the follow-on round. We also look at secondary opportunities.”
How should managers pitch you? “Most of the new managers that we look at come through our network of GPs, LPs and advisors.”

August — Luxembourg

An investor in private assets from VC to real estate. 

Date of founding: 2009

Size of FoF vehicle: €20m

Number of funds backed to date: Six — Singular, Stride, FoodLabs, Atlantic Labs, Dawn Capital and Frst

Geography: Pan-European

Back emerging managers? Yes

Co-investments? Yes (has done two)

How should managers pitch you? “Warm intro preferred.”

AXA Venture Partners (AVP) — UK

AVP is a global VC firm that also has a fund of funds strategy. 

Date launched fund of funds strategy: 2017 when the firm hired Dominic Maier as head of fund investing. 

Size of fund of funds vehicle: Current vehicle is €230m. 

Maier says AVP is “imminently launching a larger vehicle in order to take advantage of the reset within all stages of venture and to participate in what we believe will be some of the most successful vintages for venture investing globally.”

Number of funds backed to date: 40 funds (since 2017). 

Geography: Established venture ecosystems globally” which means east and west coasts of the US, western Europe, Israel, India, China and most recently southeast Asia. 

Back emerging managers? Yes

Co-investments? Yes. Maier says AVP co-invests alongside the general partners (GPs) in its portfolio and is “most excited by follow-on rounds where our underlying managers have known the founders and company for several years”. AVP also participates in LP secondaries, where they take over an LP stake in a VC fund. 

How should managers pitch you? “The best way for us to get to know GPs is over a long period of time. We love to see GPs say they will do something and then for them to come back showing us they have done it. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a multi-fund cycle, it can start during the middle of a fund for us to get excited for the next fundraise. A part of what they should be able to articulate is ‘Why us? Why now? Why here?’. And, finally, the best way to get our attention is (very typically) through a warm introduction,” says Maier.

Blue Future Partners — Germany

A European-based fund of funds backing emerging managers around the world. 

Date launched fund of funds strategy: 2015

Size of current fund: $50m

Number of funds backed to date: Backed over 35 emerging VC fund managers, including Angular Ventures, Stride.VC, helloworld, Chalfen Ventures, Visionaries Club, Boldstart Ventures, Scribble Ventures and Ubiquity Ventures.

Geography: Global

Back emerging managers? Yes. The firm is focused on backing emerging managers, which has included first-time funds up to third-generation funds. 

Co-investments? Yes, in follow-on rounds of portfolio fund companies only.

How should managers pitch you? “We are always happy to take a call with GPs operating within our mandate in terms of fund size and stage. GPs can get in touch with us through the contact form on our website or by reaching out to one of our team members directly.”

Blue Wire Capital — UK

Blue Wire is a VC firm that invests strategically into emerging managers. 

Date of launch of fund of funds strategy: Blue Wire was founded in 2013, and started doing fund investments from the beginning. 

Size of capital invested in fund of funds strategy: Invests in around one or two new managers a year with ~£1m tickets each. 

Number of funds backed to date: Roughly 15 funds; most recently Creator Ventures, Creator Fund and Form Ventures.

Back emerging managers? Yes, almost exclusively. Ideally their first fund.

Geography: Global, with a preference for Europe.

Co-investments? We are very strict on not picking managers on the basis of quality co-investment opportunities that they might show us — it’s much more about the strategic alignment and what having these funds in our ecosystem can bring to our founders or our own way of working (as well as returns profile, of course). But yes, we hope that as we become a trusted partner to our funds there might be opportunities to work together on early deals and we have done this a couple of times in the past,” says Bertie Highmore, head of investments. 

How should managers pitch you? “People can reach out to me on LinkedIn, that’s probably easiest. We do have a Pitch Us submission on the website, but that’s mostly for companies.”

Equation — Germany

This fund of funds came out of stealth in 2022 and backs micro VCs and “emerging blue chip” managers. The firm manages over €100m in assets but has not shared the size of each of its funds.  

Date of firm’s founding: 2020

Number of funds backed to date: 16, including Amino Collective, Discovery Ventures, Visionaries Club, Vsquared and Possible Ventures.

Back emerging managers? Yes

Geography: Focus on Europe but also the US and Israel 

Co-investments? Yes

How should managers pitch you? “Approach via introduction, LinkedIn outreach or our website with an elevator pitch and teaser materials.”

Isomer Capital — UK

Isomer is an investment company whose flagship strategy is a fund of funds, but it also has a fund to invest in the companies that its portfolio of VCs have backed. 

Date of founding: 2015

Size of last fund: €220m 

Number of funds backed to date: 61 funds, including Seedcamp, EF, Lunar Ventures, Crane, Atlantic Labs, Kibo Ventures, Credo Ventures and OpenOcean 

Geography: All Europe 

Back emerging managers? Yes and have incubated some funds, meaning they have helped them from inception to launch. 

Co-investments? Yes 

How should managers pitch you? Email [email protected]

Mastertech Capital — Spain 

A fund of funds based in Spain.

Date of founding of firm: 2017

Size of fund of funds vehicle: €30m

Number of funds backed to date: 37 VCs backed to date including Crane, Earlybird, Life Extension, Stride.VC, Connect, Seedcamp, Balderton, Bonsai Partners and Lakestar.

Geography: Focus on Europe and the US, but also allocates to Israel 

Back emerging managers? Yes

Co-investments? No

How should managers pitch you? “Approach via intro is always the best way. Sometimes we proactively reach out to managers when we have good references.”

Molten Ventures — UK

Molten Ventures is one of the few publicly listed VC firms and has backed names like Revolut and UiPath. It has a well-known track record of investing in other VC firms. 

Date launched fund of funds strategy: 2017

Size of capital invested in fund of funds strategy: £150m committed to date.

Number of funds backed to date: 67 funds and 53 fund managers as of September 2022, including Seedcamp, Moonfire, Possible Ventures, Antler and  Future Positive Capital. There’s a list on their website. A quarter of their funds have one or more female GPs.   

Geography: UK and Europe, plus “thesis-driven US funds with a strong European exposure,” says Mohadeseh Abdullahi, on the firm’s fund of funds team. 

Back emerging managers? Yes. A third of the funds backed are emerging managers. 

Co-investments? Yes. “We can co-invest, go direct and invest in SPVs [special purpose vehicles]. Helping our GPs continue backing their portfolio winners is an important part of our strategy,” says Abdullahi. 

How should managers pitch you? “We want to understand the story of the people behind the fund, and what motivated its inception. Given the longevity of the GP-LP relationships, the people always come first. We are then looking for why your strategy is unique in its respective geography, thematic or sector and how you aim to add value to the founders you back. 

Multiple Capital — Germany

Multiple Capital is a fund of funds that invests in micro and seed-stage VCs with a focus on Europe. 

Date of founding: 2013

Size of last fund: €20m

Number of funds backed to date: 44, including Earlybird East (Fund I), IQ Capital, Angular, Air Street Capital, EF and Icebreaker.  

Back emerging managers? Yes 

Geography: Europe and 20-30% outside of Europe

Co-investments? No 

How should managers pitch you?Ideally through our website ’contact us’ button,” says managing partner Ertan Can.  

Pacenotes — Netherlands 

Pacenotes invests in early-stage VCs and ventures with a focus on Europe.

Date of founding: 2022

Size of FoF vehicle: €50m target

Number of funds backed to date: Two funds closed, third in completion and the fourth will close in Q1 2023. That includes two Northzone funds and two unannounced seed/early-stage funds. 

Geography: Primarily Europe and Israel, but also US 

Back emerging managers? “Not generally, but potentially,” says managing partner Jeroen van Doornik. “If, for example, the manager comes from a firm we know well.”

Co-investments? Yes. “It’s part of our core strategy and one of the reasons for our fund investments. We co-invest, go direct and also through SPV’s (special purpose vehicles),” says van Doornik. 

How should managers pitch you? “Reach out to Jeroen or [cofounder and investment manager] Menno Rijnsburger via introduction or LinkedIn. In terms of pitching us, we believe that in venture access, selection capability and conviction are key.”

Rancilio Cube — Italy 

Rancilio Cube was the family office of Italy’s Rancilio family and became a regulated entity for professional investors in 2022 and transferred its VC assets into a new vehicle with capital from other Italian family offices. 

Date of founding: Rancilio’s investing activity started in 2013 but it only opened up an investment vehicle for external investors in 2022

Size of FoF vehicle: €50m (65% of the vehicle is for fund investments, 35% direct deals)

Number of funds backed to date: 59 funds including Hoxton Ventures, Target Global, Seedcamp, Cavalry, Speedinvest, Visionaries Club, Lakestar, HV Capital and Oxford Science Innovation  

Geography: US (40%), EU (40%), Israel (10%), emerging markets (10%)

Back emerging managers? Yes 

Co-investments? Yes 

How should managers pitch you? Write to https://ranciliocubesicaf.com/.

Sella Venture Partners — Italy

The VC fund of funds arm of Italy’s largest private and independent banking group. 

Date of founding: 2020

Size of last fund: €60m

Number of funds backed to date: 18 funds with an overall target of 23-24 

Geography: EU and North America 

Back emerging managers? Not currently but planning to launch an emerging manager allocation in 2023. 

Co-investments? No

How should managers pitch you? Contact managing partner Luca Mannucci or analyst Giovanni Paratore

Other European fund of funds on our radar:

Eleanor Warnock is Sifted’s deputy editor and cohost of The Sifted Podcast. She tweets from @misssaxbys