January 31, 2024

Giant Ventures, the VC with a knack for backing serial founders, launches $250m in new funds

LPs include Richard Branson, while former UK foreign secretary David Miliband is an advisory board member

Freya Pratty

4 min read

VC firm Giant Ventures likes investing in mission-driven tech companies — and serial entrepreneurs. Since getting going in 2019, it’s collected notable former founders like top trumps — backing the follow-up acts from the founders of Gorillas, Bulb, Mind Candy and Casper. Today, it’s announcing two new funds to invest in even more.

A new $100m seed fund will back companies across climate tech, healthtech and what Giant calls “inclusive capitalism”. The firm is also launching a new $150m growth fund for climate tech startups. All of Giant’s funds invest across Europe and the US. 

LPs include BMW, Henkel, Denmark’s sovereign wealth fund and Richard Branson, while former UK foreign secretary David Miliband is an advisory board member. Giant's new seed fund is closed and its set to hold an additional close next month for its growth fund after the target size was oversubscribed. 


Giant’s first two funds, raised in 2020, deployed $50m into seed-stage companies and $50m at growth stage. “Both are in the top quartile for their vintage,” Tommy Stadlen says. Companies in the Giant portfolio include battery storage startup Field, agritech Agreena and mental health app Calm.

Stadlen and his cofounder Cameron McLain are both former entrepreneurs. McLain built and sold a social analytics company before working at VC firm Hummingbird Ventures. Stadlen cofounded Swing, an imaging technology company which exited to Microsoft.

The two met at school — there’s a photo of them playing high school rugby together in the new Giant office, a stylish, wood-paneled building in London’s Holland Park.

Doubling down on climate

Giant’s new growth fund is dedicated solely to climate tech to address the Series B funding gap. “We think there's a real valley of death and we want to help companies cross that chasm. Particularly in Europe, there’s not a lot of good financing partners for those entrepreneurs,” says McLain. The growth fund will write cheques between $8-12m. 

The climate tech investment landscape has changed considerably since Giant started out. 

“At the beginning we felt there wasn’t much competition. With Agreena, we led the seed and were pretty much the only term sheet,” says Stadlen. (Agreena has gone on to become one of Europe’s best-funded agritech companies.) “Then fast forward to 2021 and climate became one of the hottest themes in venture.” 

Generalists and multi-stage US firms started to pour into the vertical. “That led to the bubbles we saw in things like carbon accounting,” Stadlen says, adding that, in 2021, Giant was pitched a carbon accounting startup almost every week.

The last two years have seen the generalist funds pull back. “There’s a lot of competition at seed but by Series B there’s not a lot of options,” says McLain. 

What Giant wants to see next

Asked what companies they’d love to walk through the door next, Stadlen and McLain give very different answers. 

McLain instantly reels off a well thought-through list. He’d like to see someone tackle the fashion supply chain, a longevity app and an edtech app which leverages ChatGPT.

“We’re ying and yang,” says Stadlen. “Cameron is the thematic, thesis-driven investor. I’m more about founder-driven investing.” 


Giant puts a lot of emphasis on serial founders — it’s backed two new companies from the former founders of energy startup Bulb, as well as Mirror, a new healthtech startup run by Kagan Sumer, the former founder of speedy grocery startup Gorillas. 

“The data suggests that you're much more likely to succeed if you've built something of scale, $10m of revenue or more, before,” says Stadlen. “We think there's a bit of ageism in tech and venture, where the college dropout is lionised but the 45-year-old experienced entrepreneur is not.”

“We're gonna build it ourselves”

As well as straight-forward venture investing, Giant also builds companies. “If we don't see a really strong team building within a particular theme, we're gonna build it ourselves,” Stadlen says. 

To do that, it incubates ideas — “one or two a year” — alongside experienced business operators. This was the case with Beams, a home renovation startup cofounded alongside Hayden Wood, the former cofounder of energy startup Bulb. 

Giant is now also working on a new company with Nicolaj Reffstrup, the cofounder of hyped Danish fashion label GANNI — although  McLain and Stadlen remain tight-lipped on the details.

Editor’s note: Tommy Stadlen is an advisor to Sifted.

Freya Pratty

Freya Pratty is a senior reporter at Sifted. She covers climate tech, writes our weekly Climate Tech newsletter and works on investigations. Follow her on X and LinkedIn