Venture Capital/News/ Market One Capital raises a fresh €80m fund to invest in marketplace startups The Polish fund has backed unicorns like Tier and Jokr By Zosia Wanat 27 October 2022 Market One Capital team Market One Capital team \Venture Capital 12 UK soonicorns to watch By Sadia Nowshin 29 March 2023 Venture Capital/News/ Market One Capital raises a fresh €80m fund to invest in marketplace startups The Polish fund has backed unicorns like Tier and Jokr By Zosia Wanat 27 October 2022 VC firms from central and eastern Europe (CEE) usually focus on their own region — but Poland’s Market One Capital (MOC) has a history of going far beyond. It’s backed unicorns from western Europe, such as German scooter company Tier and grocery delivery startup JOKR, founded in Berlin and now operating out of New York. And it’s just raised its second fund, of €80m, to invest in more early-stage European marketplace and network effect startups. MOC is yet another example of a CEE-based VC, along with Czech Credo and Polish Inovo, raising a new fund despite difficult conditions in the European venture market. Competing in the West Asked why a startup from France or Germany should consider inviting a Polish VC to their cap table, Marcin Zabielski, managing partner at MOC, quips: “And why not?” But MOC has a longer answer, too. “Winning deals in western Europe is much harder than in the CEE, but it’s still possible when you have your specialisation,” says Marcin Kurek, also a managing partner. “Being a generalist VC from Poland which invests in the West is more difficult.” MOC, which launched its first fund in 2018, specialises in investing in network effects companies — where the value of a product, service or platform goes up simply because the number of users increases. Almost 70% of MOC’s first fund’s portfolio operate in this model — they’re mostly marketplaces but there are also some fintech and software startups. That makes it far easier to “sell” MOC to western European entrepreneurs, says Kurek. “If you focus on marketplaces, if you have five, 10, 15 marketplaces in your portfolio, it’s easier to win a deal with another one because you’ve gathered the knowledge. If you’re in talks with an entrepreneur early enough, if you know their market and understand their business then you can find yourself in very competitive deals.” Around half of the first fund’s investments have been in western European startups, including Tier and JOKR, French deeptech Pathway, British fintech Silverbird and Dutch marketing platform Convious. MOC has also backed Poland’s most successful startups, such as medtech DocPlanner and edtech Brainly. As a Polish VC, MOC also has leverage against its western peers: a unique understanding of the regional market. This knowledge can be crucial for startups that want to expand to eastern Europe. “For entrepreneurs who build marketplaces, CEE is often a tier-one expansion market. It’s a big market that they want to reach but they don’t have enough expertise. That’s why they’re looking for partners from this region who’ll provide them not only with the capital but also the network and to help them expand,” Zabielski says. Seed focus With the new fund, MOC wants to support around 30 new startups, mostly at the pre-seed and seed stage. The fund’s initial tickets range from €200k to €2m, with the possibility to invest up to €8m in one company. A third of the new €80m fund comes from the European Investment Fund. Numerous individual and family investors, mostly entrepreneurs from CEE, have also contributed. The fund’s hard cap is at €100m, and the partners are currently in talks with additional investors. Zabielski adds that by investing in western European startups, which usually get higher valuations than eastern European startups, MOC’s positioning itself well in the eyes of its investors. “Most of our LPs are from CEE and for them it’s a good sign that we invest in western Europe,” he says. “Valuations are potentially higher, and one could achieve higher returns.” Zosia Wanat is Sifted’s central and eastern Europe reporter. She tweets from @zosiawanat Related Articles NATO launches €1bn fund to invest in war startups By Maija Palmer Click here to read more Female founders need money, not more mentoring By Tessa Clarke Click here to read more Only 14% of angel investors in the UK are women, report finds By Miriam Partington in Berlin Click here to read more Black businesses are in crisis By Eric Collins Click here to read more Most Read 1 \Startup Life UK government to reform ‘equity for visas’ residency application system 2 \Fintech Is Revolut really worth $33bn right now? 3 \Startup Life Techstars unexpectedly pulls out of Sweden mid-programme 4 \Deeptech The other funding gap: it’s not just unicorns that are leaving Europe 5 \Deeptech ‘There’s going to be a bloodbath’ — is generative AI a bubble?