Following the departure of four senior growth investors, French investment firm Eurazeo has postponed the fundraising of its fourth growth fund until possibly February, according to its new managing partner Hala Fadel.
“It makes sense for LPs to see stability in the team,” she tells Sifted.
“I told [the LPs], we need six months to show you who the new MDs and operating partners are and who is staying within this team.”
The company has recruited a new London-based managing director and three new operating partners to its growth team. Raluca Ragab, previously at Goldman Sachs, Vitruvian Partners and Key1 Capital, will join Eurazeo Growth in January next year as its MD in London.
Eurazeo’s growth portfolio includes 40 companies, of which 26 have been minted unicorns, says Fadel.
Starting a new VC
It’s been a tumultuous year for the publicly traded investment company Eurazeo.
At the beginning of the year, the firm’s CEO Virginie Morgon was ousted by shareholders unhappy with the company's share price and the CEO’s leadership, media reported at the time.
This summer, the managing partner in charge of Eurazeo Growth, Yann du Rusquec, left the firm followed by three other growth team investors: Nathalie Kornhoff-Brüls in London, Zoé Fabian in Berlin and Guillaume d'Audiffret in Paris. The four of them had been responsible for raising Eurazeo’s third and latest €1.6bn growth fund in 2021, with which they backed companies like Swedish database company Neo4j, cloud banking technology company Thought Machine and refurbished-gadget platform BackMarket.
The four MDs had been open with Eurazeo about starting an independent fund, she says.
The idea was that the new investment company would be supported by Eurazeo but when it became clear to the four MDs that the firm would not support it, they decided to leave, Fadel says.
Recruiting a new team
Following du Rusquec’s departure, Fadel was offered the position of managing partner of Eurazeo Growth.
Fadel has 15 years of experience in listed equities and another five years at VC. For growth investments, she only has four years of experience and says she was unsure whether to stay at Eurazeo when a large part of senior management left.
“I wondered for quite some time, should I go or should I stay? I had a very good fit with the team, so I knew that if I stayed, they would stay as well,” Fadel says.
With the new tougher investment climate, the team is mainly focused on helping the portfolio companies, in comparison to previous years’ focus on finding new investment cases. The current situation has led to more fluidity in the VC labour market, she says, as investors who want to do deals are leaving funds to join others where they have more of an opportunity to do that.
“Most of our competitors are also seeing departures at the junior level,” she adds.
But more people looking for new jobs is an opportunity for VCs currently recruiting.
“On the flip side, it’s easier for me to recruit. So you see lots of people moving around and I’ve been able to interview like 25 people to get just one candidate,” Fadel says.
Fundraising again in February
When partners or senior investors leave a VC, LPs often have the right to end the relationship with that fund.
In the case of Eurazeo, this didn’t happen, according to Fadel, who says that the current 18-person team has had its mandate renewed by LPs for investing the remaining capital out of the last growth fund.
However, the plans to start fundraising in July were postponed because she wanted to see how the team was performing and to give LPs the chance to get to know it.
Eurazeo is one of at least three growth investors that have been selected as candidates to receive investments from the European Investment Fund (EIF) €3.75bn fund of funds, according to Sifted sources.