Partech Ventures announces the Biggest European Seed Fund. Ever.

Apr 1, 2015
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Partech Ventures announced this morning that they have closed a new €60 Million Seed Fund – Partech Entrepreneur II – with LPs including BPIFrance, seven corporations (Carrefour, Econocom, EdenRED, Groupama, Ingenico, Neopost, Renault-Nissan), as well as 50 entrepreneurs, including Eric Carreel (Withings), Marc Menasé (Menlook – a Partech investment) & Oliver Goy (Lendix).

The fund will make 1 deal in the US, 1 deal in France – every month. That’s right, with investments ranging from 300K to 1 Million (meaning they will go as high as 4 Million for a Seed round). The company plans to make 70 investments in total, reserving about half of the fund for follow-on investment, and meaning they will have the fund totally committed in the next two years. The fund already has 5 deals in the pipeline.

In total, Partech now has €90 Million in Seed Money, including Partech Entrepreneur I, a €30 Million seed fund they raised in 2013, which is now fully committed. Entrepreneur I saw 30 deals done in 18 months, 26 of which had no revenue, with ticket sizes raising from 150-500K€ (out of a 500-1.5 Million seed round). Deals included PriceMatch, Kartable, Pleek; however, sitting down with two of the fund’s managers – Romain Lavault & Boris Golden (formerly of Pealk), they’ll tell you that the biggest lesson they learned was how to make deals fast.

Deals move faster in the US, they say, where they have a full-time partner, Jai Choi – however, deals move faster everywhere, and the best deals move faster than the others. One deal that Lavault said he regretted not getting in on with Entrepreneur I was Algolia, whose $1.5 Million Seed Round closed just one month after Entrepreneur I began, and was a huge learning curve for Lavault, who wasn’t quick enough for the Algolia founders.

Now, Lavault says, Partech has learned how to move quickly at scale, dealing with problems that come when you have 100+ portfolio companies. For one, Partech won’t invest in two competing companies, which means that they are often disqualified from an investment because of a prior investment (even in a different market); however, it also means that, when they are considering an investment, it’s very important for them to know that there are no other competitors doing it better, which they will miss out on by making their claim in a given deal.

Making 70 investments in two years sounds ambitious, though the team is 4 Partners – 2 in France, one in Germany, and one in SF – although the Paris team says they are also making deals across London and other markets, while their German partner, Otto Birnbaum, is looking a Scandinavia and other markets connected to Berlin.

Update: this article previously stated that 26%, and not 26 out of 30, of the Partech Entrepreneur I fund were without revenue at the time of fundraising. It has since been corrected