April 11, 2024

French VC Jean de La Rochebrochard removed from Newwave

The VC says he will now focus on Kima Ventures, which makes early-stage investments for French billionaire Xavier Niel

Prominent French investor Jean de La Rochebrochard has been removed from VC firm Newwave, he tells Sifted. The story was first reported by French media outlet Les Echos

De la Rochebrochard, who is also the managing partner of Kima Ventures — the firm that manages French billionaire Xavier Niel’s pre-seed and seed investments — cofounded Newwave in 2020 with former Accel vice president Pia d’Iribarne.

The investor tells Sifted that he had decided to leave Newwave earlier this year to focus on Kima Ventures, citing some differences with his cofounder. Then, after the two failed to agree on the terms of his departure, he was eventually forced out of the firm by D’Iribarne — who owns 60% of the management company — last month, De La Rochebrochard says.


It means he could lose all his management fees and carry, he adds — although the terms of the procedure are yet to be defined.

"In addition to the wish he expressed to refocus on Kima, a number of reasons have made that it was not possible anymore for him to stay at Newwave," d'Iribarne tells Sifted.

Raising Newwave’s second fund

Newwave, whose LPs include high-profile entrepreneurs like healthtech unicorn Alan founder Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve, ex-Zenly founder Antoine Martin, and Xavier Niel, has backed lively French startups ranging from AI darlings Mistral and Poolside to Martin’s latest consumer app amo and carbon accounting platform Sweep

When de La Rochebrochard told his cofounder about his intention to leave, Newwave was reaching the end of the deployment of its first €75m fund, launched in 2020, he says. He adds that he was not willing to continue the partnership to raise a second fund, as initially planned.

“[Pia and I] are different and not made to work together in the long-term,” de La Rochebrochard tells Sifted. 

But the firm had already started raising for a second fund and secured commitments of up to €65m, he says. De La Rochebrochard adds that with one of the investment partners now gone, there is a chance that some LPs will default on their capital calls.

“No money has been sent yet,” he says. “You bet on a duo and one of them leaves before any capital calls — it reshuffles the whole thing.”

A source with knowledge of the matter, who has chosen to remain anonymous to protect relationships, says that this won’t happen given that none of the contracts with LPs included a ‘key man' clause on either D'Iribarne or De La Rochebrochard. The clause would allow LPs to retract their commitments if essential members of the investment team leave the firm.

D’Iribarne is now recruiting a full-time principal, according to the source.

De La Rochebrochard says he will now fully focus on Kima, but that he will keep his board seat with Newwave portfolio companies, which include amo and BeReal.

Update: This article was amended on 15 April to remove a quote from an anonymous source regarding the reasons for de La Rochebrochard's departure.


Update: This article was amended on 15 April to add a quote from d'Iribarne.

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet is a reporter for Sifted based in Paris and covering French tech. You can find her on X and LinkedIn