A group of European startup founders has launched a new fund called Plural with an initial fund of more than $260 million (250 million euros), describing it as a “new investment platform for founders to back founders.”
“In the U.S., if you look at the tier one, tier two VC firms, more than half, 60%-plus, of the general partners of VC organizations have actually built companies before,” said Sten Tamkivi about the new fund. “And we discovered that in Europe that statistic is 8%.”
Tamkivi, co-founder of Teleport, is one of the four startup founders behind Plural, alongside Taavet Hinrikus co-founder of Wise, Ian Hogarth, co-founder of Songkick, and Khaled Helioui, CEO at Bigpoint.
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The four co-founders call themselves “unemployables”—founders who would not readily join a VC firm or be employable at a startup. As active angel investors, they seek to create a structure for European founders who have reached the stage that they want to give back to the next generation.
How it works
The fund will operate in a distinct manner from a traditional fund. There is no fund thesis because there’s no committee decision-making. Each lead will select two to four companies a year they are passionate about working with.
The fund committee will critique the investment. However, the lead makes the decision and will always invest their own money alongside capital from the fund. At the core is an agreement between the lead and the founder on how they will help, creating an intimate relationship.
Plural has other co-founders who plan to join but are not yet announced. The firm anticipates having around 10 leads investing by the end of the year.
Building a startup is “a very scalable craft,” said Tamkivi. He knows it is helpful to have people you can call who have “been in your shoes, who have built things, hired people early on, made their first sale, try to figure out what’s the next round like and so forth.”
The team has already made 14 investments. Its commitment is largely at seed or Series A, and typically around $3 million to $4 million. Areas of interest for the fund leads are climate, AI and machine learning, data and governance, health, and social equality.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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