Yesterday evening, Index Ventures hosted a summer party on the top of Criteo’s new office building, located just across the street from the Theatre de Paris. The party welcomed a fair amount of Index VCs from their offices in Geneva & London, as well as some of the head honchos. The event also featured some of Paris’ finest startups – Criteo (of course), BlaBlaCar, Appsfire, Ofertaldia, Whatever @PEG is launching today, and Cedric Giorgi’s not-yet-launched Cookening.
During the evening, Index spoke a bit about themselves, mentioning that, while they are well known for their late-stage investments, they also make 20-30 seed stage and Series A investments per year. They have been throwing get together’s like the one in Paris all over Europe in the past few months, and it seems their aim is to do an image overhaul, and perhaps regain some of the ground they’ve lost to Accel in Europe.
According to Index, the decision to throw the party at their most successful tech investment’s three-week old office was ‘last minute,’ but it couldn’t have been planned better. The 7th floor rooftop gave unabashed view onto the Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the Tour Montparnasse, with the tips Beaubourg, the Pantheon, and more poking up through the cityscape. Well adorned with champagne and finger foods, partners from different firms joked together, competing startups chatted about their sector, and somehow, despite the weather forecast, not a drop of rain touched the Criteo rooftops.
I had originally been invited to this Summer Party after my article a few weeks ago declaring that French entrepreneurs shouldn’t hold their breath for getting any of Index Ventures’ new €350 Million fund. French associate Martin Mignot hoped to persuade me otherwise, and so I think the subject deserves a bit of thought:
This event was not cheap – just the cost for Index to bring the 30 or so employees to the event from out of town must’ve at least been felt in the accounting department. And, while superstar VCs like Jeff Clavier didn’t show up as expected (he’s on summer vacation, so I’ll give him a break, just this once), the attendance list was still very respectable. ISAI’s GM Jean-David Chamboredon and Elaia Partners/ France Digitale‘s Marie Ekeland were both present at the party, and I imagine that at least part of Ekeland was comparing the summer party to her recent launch event.
If a VC Firm is willing to make this kind of investment just to take 10 minutes to talk about how they invest in early-stage, and how they are committed to France, I think that we will be seeing a lot more talk about Index in France in the next few years. I guess that will calm my fears about the number of eminent disappearing VC funds in Paris (Sofinnova, 360 Capital, Ventech). But that’s a topic for another day.
All in all, the event brought together some great startups – Teleportd, Mailjet, BestofMedia, Capseo, and even some New York self-proclaimed “Internet Fucks” from Quirky – and I hope to see more of this kind of VC support in the upcoming years.
**update: I originally included Partech in the list of VCs mentioned above. I have since removed them.
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