Venture Capital/Analysis/

All the new first-time European VC funds of 2022

Launching a new fund in 2022 is, over the long-term, likely to prove better timing than launching a new fund in the frothy days of 2021.

By Amy Lewin

Cherry Team

Launching a new fund in 2022 is, over the long term, likely to prove a better bet than launching a new fund in the frothy days of 2021.

Valuations have come down at later stages, and startups aren’t raising “silly money” like last year, which means VCs can get more bang for their buck.

From January to June 2022, VCs in Europe raised almost € 12bn in fresh capital. Around € 2bn of that was raised by new funds – either from first-time fund managers, or from established fund managers launching a new specialist fund. 

So, who are the new kids on the block? We profile them here. 

Have we missed any funds? Let us know: [email protected] 

The Kiko Ventures team

Kiko Ventures

HQ: UK
Fund size: £375m
Focus: Climate tech
Stage: Pre-seed to Series B

Kiko Ventures, which launched in June, is an evergreen climate tech fund. It’s backed by the FTSE 250 company IP Group, and plans to deploy £200m over the next five years. Existing portfolio companies include nuclear fusion company First Light Fusion, hydrogen fuel cell startup Bramble Energy, and carbon dioxide capture tech company C-Capture.

Synthesis Capital

HQ: UK
Fund size: $300m
Focus: Foodtech
Stage: Seed to Series C 

Synthesis Capital is one of several sizeable climate and foodtech funds to have closed this year. It’s interested in scaling innovations in foodtech so they can have real impact, and thinks more attention needs to be paid to “upstream” technologies — those closer to the farm or the lab — that can help solve climate, water and food security challenges. It’s looking to invest in around 15 startups, writing first cheques of $5 to 25m. 

European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

HQ: Germany
Fund size: €300m
Focus:  Agritech, packaging, food and industrial biotech
Stage: 
Growth

ECBF launched in February and counts the European Investment Bank as a cornerstone investor. Its portfolio includes edible insect startup Protix and In Ovo, a Dutch startup which can detect the gender of chicks before they hatch – and help put an end to the mass killing of male chicks in the poultry industry.

Plural

The team at new VC fund Plural including Taavet Hinrikus and Ian Hogarth
Plural’s partners

HQ: UK
Fund size: € 250m
Focus: Climate tech, healthtech, edtech, regulation
Stage: Early-stage 

Started by well-known entrepreneurs and prolific angel investors Taavet Hinrikus and Ian Hogarth, the € 250m fund is not only big, it’s also out to prove that there’s an radically new – and better – way to run a VC firm, including what you call your investment partners

“We’re building the kind of investment platform we all wished we’d had when we were building our companies,” Hinrikus told Sifted on launch. 

Northern Gritstone

HQ: UK
Fund size: £ 215m
Focus: University spinouts 

Northern Gritstone has a relatively niche focus for a European VC: university spinouts – based in the north of England. It announced the first close of its fund in May, but is hoping to raise as much as £ 500m by final close. The firm was founded by three UK universities (Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield) to help commercialize science and IP-rich businesses.

Invest-NL

HQ: Netherlands
Fund size: € 250m
Focus: Climate tech, deeptech

Invest-NL’s mandate is to invest in companies that will make the Netherlands more sustainable and more innovative. The fund is run by a private fund manager, but is financed with public funds. 

10x Founders

An image of the founders of German venture network 10x Founders
10x Founders

HQ: Germany
Fund size: € 160m
Focus: Generalist
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

European founders are increasingly interested in backing the next generation of entrepreneurs – but not all want to (or have time to) actively angel invest. Instead, they’re investing in VC funds to spread their risk and put their money to work. 

10x Founders is a fund grounded in this trend. It’s backed by 200 German founders, and its partners also have a mix of investment and entrepreneurial experience. 

Climentum

The Climentum team

HQ: Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm
Fund size: Targeting € 150m
Focus: Climate tech
Stage: Seed and Series A 

This climate tech fund is interested in investing in deeptech hardware – and, emphatically, not software. “We’re looking for something that really has an enormous direct impact, so you have to go to the atom level. You have to move things. You have to shake things up, ”partner Yoann Berno told Sifted. 

Green Generation Fund

HQ: Berlin
Fund size: €100m
Focus: Climate tech, foodtech
Stage: Early stage

Founded by Janna Ensthaler and Dr Manon Sarah Littek, the fund has already backed eight startups focused on sustainability, from food to farming. They hope to invest in 20 more companies in the coming two to three years.

AENU

Group photo of the AENU senior team
AENU team

HQ: Berlin
Fund size: € 100m
Focus: Climate tech
Stage: Seed to Series A 

AENU began life as Pirate Impact, a climate-focused family office, but now it’s a fully fledged fund. It has an evergreen fund structure, which it hopes will enable it to back the best startups in its portfolio all the way up to a public listing and beyond. 

Sustainable Future Ventures

HQ: UK
Fund size: € 100m
Focus: Climate tech
Stage: Late seed to Series B 

Sustainable Future Ventures has a fairly niche focus: “investing in technology companies to enable a more sustainable built environment” – from anywhere in the world. The fund is managed by Patrizia AG , a German investment manager active mostly in real estate. 

Embedded / capital

HQ: Germany
Fund size: € 100m
Focus: Fintech
Stage: Pre-seed to seed 

Launched by the founders of fintech company builder finleap, Embedded / capital is focused on – as the name suggests – fintech startups with embedded financial services at their heart. The portfolio includes Hero, the French payments platform which raised € 12.4m in July, just seven months after launch.

Ledger Cathay Capital

HQ: France
Fund size: € 100m
Focus: Crypto, Web3
Stage: Seed to Series A 

This is an unusual one: French scaleup Ledger has teamed up with investment firm Cathay Capital to launch a new fund focused on crypto startups. 

Sure Valley Ventures

HQ: UK
Fund size: £ 95m
Focus: Metaverse, Web3, cybersecurity, AI 

Sure Valley Ventures plans to invest in startups all over the UK – and has recently made hires in Leeds and Manchester. Its cornerstone investor is the British Business Bank, which commited £ 50m to the fund. 

Racine

HQ: France
Fund size: € 80m
Focus: Climate tech, healthtech, edtech

Racine is a French impact fund, announced in February. The fund is a partnership between French insurer MGEN and VCs makesense and Serena Capital.  

Elkstone

HQ: Ireland
Fund size: € 75m
Focus: Generalist 

Elkstone began life as a multi-family office – but this year also raised a venture fund to invest in companies in its home country of Ireland

Indico Blue Fund

HQ: Portugal
Fund size: targeting € 50m
Focus: Oceantech
Stage: Pre-seed to growth 

Lisbon-based Indico launched a € 50m fund for “blue economy” startups in January; € 36m of which has been raised at that point. It’s interested in hearing from startups looking into sustainable aquaculture, green shipping, ocean renewable energy and several other sub-verticals.

The Techshop

HQ: Italy
Fund size: € 50m targeting
Focus: B2B software, SaaS
Stage: Seed 

Based in Milan, The Techshop is solely focused on B2B and SaaS startups. The team is aiming to close the fund at € 50m, but had raised € 32m as of July .

RAISE

HQ: France
Fund size: € 40m
Focus: Climate tech
Stage: Seed to Series B 

Paris-based RAISE has backed startups like Virtuo, Lovys and WeMaintain. 

Faber Blue Pioneers

HQ: Portugal
Fund size: € 32m
Focus:  Blue economy, deeptech, climate tech
Stage: Pre-seed and seed

This fund, raised by Portugal VC firm Faber, is entirely focused on startups building deeptech to boost the sustainability of our oceans. It’s backed by the European Investment Fund, along with several foundations and entrepreneurs. It hopes to complete a final close of the fund by the end of 2022, and plans to invest in 20 to 25 early-stage companies contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 14.

Unconventional Ventures

HQ: Copenhagen
Fund size: € 30m
Focus: Underrepresented founders
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

Unconventional is one of Europe’s first funds focused specifically on underrepresented founders – those identifying as women, people of color, immigrants and / or LGTBQ + – and is backed by VC firm Atomico and the Danish state investment fund.

Upfin

HQ:  Copenhagen
Fund size:  € 30m
Focus:  Fintech
Stage:  Pre-seed and seed

Another sector-specialist fund, Upfin is looking to invest in 15-20 fintech companies, ideally based in the Nordics. Its backers includes a Danish sovereign wealth fund, pension fund and financial services union.

Acrobator Ventures

HQ: Netherlands
Fund size: €30m
Focus: B2B, data
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

Acrobator wants to help startups based in central and eastern Europe and the Baltics expand into western markets.

Leafy Tunnel

HQ: UK
Fund size: $30m
Focus: Psychedelics
Stage: Seed and Series A 

Leafy Tunnel, based in Guernsey, backs medical cannabis and psychedelics startups. Its portfolio includes Beckley Psytech

Cherry Crypto

HQ: Germany
Fund size: €30m
Focus: Web3, crypto

Berlin-based early-stage fund Cherry launched a specific crypto fund in February this year. 

Lightshift Capital

HQ: Portugal
Fund size: €26.5m
Focus: Blockchain, Web3, crypto 

Lightshift is one of several blockchain and crypto-focused funds to launch this year.

PUSH Ventures

HQ: Austria
Fund size: Targeting €25-30m
Focus: Health and climate tech
Stage: Pre-seed to Series A

Launched in July, PUSH invests in primarily German and Austrian startups focused on health and climate tech. It writes cheques of €100-500k in pre-seed rounds and €500k-1.5m in seed rounds. The partners’ track record includes diabetes management app MySugr, primary healthcare startup Elephant Healthcare and precision fermentation startup fermify.

Urban Impact Ventures

HQ: Rotterdam
Fund size: Target of $50m
Focus: Sustainable transformation of cities
Stage: Late seed and Series A

Urban Impact Ventures is an impact VC supporting entrepreneurs that contribute to the sustainable transformation of the urban environment. It has two core investment themes: decarbonisation and circularity.  

Hypernova

HQ: US/Europe
Fund size: $25m
Focus: Automation and process innovation
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

Being run by a solo VC manager — Tugce Ergul — isn’t the only thing that makes Hypernova stand out. The fund also plans to invest in both startups and other funds. Half of its investments will be made in the US, half in Europe, and in terms of startup investments, it’s interested in automation and process innovation in sectors like retail, finance, logistics, transportation and shipping.

FOV Ventures

HQ: Finland
Fund size: Targeting €25m
Focus: Metaverse
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

Launched by David Haynes, one of the founding team at music company Soundcloud, FOV Ventures is going all in on metaverse startups. It had raised €16.5m of its €25m target in March, and told Sifted then it wouldn’t invest in cryptocurrencies or NFTs. 

AIP Seed

HQ: Poland
Fund size: €25m
Focus: Generalist
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

AIP wants to be the first investor in the best startups founded in Poland and central eastern Europe. 

EuraTechnologies

HQ: France
Fund size: €24m
Focus: Deeptech
Stage: Early-stage 

The Lille-based incubator and accelerator EuraTechnologies raised €24m in June to back deeptech startups.

Creator Ventures

Creator Ventures cofounders Sasha Kaletsky and Caspar Lee
Creator Ventures

HQ: UK
Fund size: $20m
Focus: Consumer social, creator economy, marketplaces
Stage: Seed to Series A 

Founded by one-time YouTube celebrity Caspar Lee, along with former PE guy Sasha Kaletsky, Creator Ventures is keen to co-invest with celebrities and “creators”. 

D2

the team at D2, a new fund for startups who want to avoid venture capital
The D2 Team

HQ: UK
Fund size: $20m
Focus: B2B software, bootstrappers
Stage: Early-stage

Alternative to traditional VC are growing — and D2 is (kind of) one of them. It offers early-stage founders equity in exchange for capital (like most VCs) but also capital in exchange for a share of a startup’s revenues over five years. Founding partner Amory Poulden told Sifted that he’s hoping for just 10% of D2’s portfolio companies to die as a result — rather than the 50% mortality rate most VCs expect. “If half the portfolio makes 1-2x the original investment rather than going to zero, we don’t need to invest in the next Google,” he said.

Cocoa Ventures

An image of Cocoa Ventures cofounders Carmen Rico and Anthony Danon
Cocoa Ventures’ Carmen Rico & Anthony Danon

HQ: UK
Fund size: $17m
Focus: Generalist
Stage: Pre-seed and seed 

Cocoa Ventures is a VC fund that wants to act like an angel investor, according to founding partners Anthony Danon and Carmen Rico. It’s designed to not lead rounds, not argue over stakes and not get in the way of other investors. Why? So that it can grab a seat at the table of the hottest deals, early on, Rico told Sifted.

Octopus Ventures

HQ: UK
Fund size: £10m
Focus: Fintech, healthtech, B2B software
Stage: Pre-seed 

Octopus Ventures is a familiar name in the UK startup sector — but this is its first pre-seed fund. It’s being managed by two women with investor and operator experience under their belts — Kirsten Connell and Maria Rotilu — and 40% of its investments on launch had a female founder, and 30% at least one ethnic minority founder.

Shamrock Ventures

HQ: Netherlands
Fund size: €10m
Focus: Climate tech

Not, as you might expect, from Ireland, Amsterdam-based Shamrock Ventures invests in impact startups. The portfolio includes a plant-based meal startup, sustainable mobility solutions and upcycling platforms. 

Photo of the The NP-Hard Ventures team
The NP-Hard Ventures team

NP-Hard Ventures

HQ:  Amsterdam
Fund size: € 10m
Focus:  Tools and infrastructure for developers and the creator economy
Stage: Pre-seed and seed

NP-Hard Ventures’ team is looking to invest in infrastructure, developer and creative tools, and platforms that support makers and builders, in Europe and the US. Managing partner Anke Huiskes is an experienced angel investor, while partners Micha Hernandez Van Leuffen and Paul Veugen are also founders. Initial investments are upwards of € 150k.

Amy Lewin is Sifted’s editor and cohost of The Sifted Podcast . She tweets from @amyrlewin

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