Speedinvest is not only the the biggest VC fund ever raised in Austria, but proposes a new take on early stage venture that challenges a lot of traditional assumptions how VC works.
Speedinvest differs in many ways from comparable funds in Europe.
First of all, the capital is provided by more than 100 entrepreneurs and private investors, rather than a few institutional investors. The list of backers behind Speedinvest is impressive, ranging from Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bulls iconic founder to Herman Hauser, or the latest generation of successful founders of startups such as Runtastic, Shpock or Busuu. This is in stark contrast to the typical European fund where often more than 50% comes from taxpayers. What does this mean for startups? The majority of Speedinvest’s investors actively co-invests and in some cases collaborates with selected portfolio companies.
In May the fund also announced its collaboration with New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the world’s largest venture fund by assets under management. NEA invested 5M USD in Speedinvest 2 and reserved 50M USD to drive global growth in Speedinvest’s portfolio of top EU startups.
So what is this new take on venture that attracts such attention?
To start with, Speedinvest is run by a total of 12 partners, 3-4 times the size of the teams that operate similar sized funds. These partners spend most of their time in full-scale operational roles for 1-2 portfolio startups each, typically executing business and corporate development functions in the US or Europe, thereby extending the resources of a given startup team by senior people, network and experience that an average seed stage company simply could not afford. If all goes well, the fund earns additional equity points with the contributions coming from these partners, at minimum founders and investors work side by side for given time, completely changing the dynamics of such relationship.
How does this work for the GP’s, given that Speedinvest charges industry standard fees? Very similar to startups! In stark contract to their well paid collegues, SI Partners receive salaries similar in size as the founders that they invest in. But, in turn, they particiate directly in the funds returns, with a portion of every exit’s proceeds going also in their pockets.
This entrepreneurial model has proven to be very successful in the first fund, with Shpock as its biggest success so far, four further exits and companies such as Hitbox, Holvi, Wikifolio, Flaviar or Tourradar that are on to great things.
Oliver Holle, CEO of Speedinvest comments “The feedback from investors was overwhelmingly positive, confirming the appetite for innovation also in our field. Venture investing is undergoing massive change and we intend to play an integral part in Europe newly emerging VC landscape.”
With the inception of its new fund the team is now sourcing startups from all over Europe, with a strong focus on the CEE region. It will stick to its core strength: as a lead investor at seed-stage with tickets up to 500k. Beyond that, it has reserved roughly half the fund for follow on investments in its own portflio.
The new fund has three core sector focuses: Fintech, Deep Tech and Consumer.
The Deep Tech segment caters specifically to tech founders in Europe that need to bring their world class IP early on to US customers and partners. Given Speedinvest’s operational support model and its team in Silicon Valley, Speedinvest is perfectly positioned to help them.
In fintech, Speedinvest has further strenthened its portfolio under the lead of industry expert Stefan Klestil (board member in Wirecard, Holvi, Number26 or IyziCo, to name just a few) with investments in Curve (http://www.imaginecurve.com/), a London-based smartcard aggregator, and Investly (https://investly.co), an Estonian e-factoring platform.
Since the first closing of the fund earlier this year Speedinvest has already invested in 14 across all of Europe. Building on the skills of eastern European tech talent the fund invested in Hungarian Slush winner Enbritely (https://enbrite.ly), an ad-fraud detection startup and Sofia-based Metrilo (www.metrilo.com), a solution for SME eCommerce entrepreneurs.
To identify the most promising founders very early, Speedinvest has has built a strategic partnership with Pioneers Ventures (pioneers.io/ventures), a pre-seed fund investing 20 to 100K in Europe’s best, nascent companies.
Launched by Ventureptreneur François Derbaix - Indexa Capital is the first Spanish online wealth management service, backed with €1M
Robo-advisors, also known as online wealth management services, are on the rise. The combination of low interest rates, high commissions from banks and low returns from other investment vehicles, means fertile territory for fintech startups willing to manage -and increase- people’s savings through technology.
US-based Wealthfront was one of the first startups to disrupt the sector. The company has raised more than $129 million from multiple VCs and currently has $2 billion in assets under management.
Spain lacked a service of such characteristics, with the only example being London-based ETFmatic, co-founded by the Spaniard Luis Rivera.
Led by Unai Ansejo Barra, François Derbaix and Ramón Blanco, Indexa Capital is now joining the field, with an initial investment of more than €1 million from Cabiedes & Partners, Fides Capital, Viriditas Ventures (Yago Arbelos), Derbaix, his wife Marta Esteve (Soysuper, Rental) and Álvaro Ortiz.
The Madrid startup is launching today, promising better returns for investors willing to give the company at least €10,000. Derbaix and Ansejo had previously founded Bewa7er, a secondary market for company’s shares that was put on hold weeks after its launch.
Indexa Capital, Wealthfront and similar companies in the sector enable clients to invest their money on a monthly basis in a diversified portfolio of index funds. The service competes with traditional investment services offered by banks, but promises much lower commissions (0.79% annually vs. 3.40% at banks, according to Indexa), automated processes, better returns and more transparency. Indexa says that it expects to offer its clients annual returns 3.1% higher than banks.
To know more about ETFs and index funds, read this article from Samuel Gil, where he explains the great opportunity for automated wealth management services. “Robo-Advisors”, he says, “pretend to offer a fully only service as good (or better) than the one provided by traditional advisors, at a much lower cost and with smaller investment requirements. Good, pretty and cheap. And for the masses”. Derbaix has also written about the project here.