360° Capital Partners long awaited new fund


360 Capital Partners logoEarlier this month, It was reported that 360° Capital Partners had raised a new fund of 60 million euros. Originally announced on Les Echos, the fund will be making seed stage investments of 200K€-1M€, as well as more classic series A/B tickets of 2M€-5M€. According to Emmanuele Levi, an associate at the VC firm, at least 60% of the fund will be invested in French companies.
In comparison to Index Ventures 350M€ European fund, and Partech Ventures’ 100M€ fund, this new fund is a bit small, and it may come to a surprise to know that the firm’s last investments happened in September and July – of 2011. There were a lot of questions in the air over this past year about whether 360° Capital, who had formerly invested in such great startups as Leetchi, would live to see the light of a new fund – the news of this new fund brings a sigh of relief, and it opens up great new doors for French startups.
Because 360° Capital was a bit of a question mark, they have “nothing in the works just yet” in terms of deal flow, according to associate Emmanuele Levi. The VC firm is open to cold calls and emails, and with a new fund in the pocket, I’d be surprised not to see a few announcements coming out in January 2013.
While this fund took a bit longer to raise than 360° Capital would have wanted, the life-cycle of the fund remains pretty consistent at 5-6 years. Their first fund was raised in 2000, their second in 2007, which finished in Spring 2012, and the Fall of 2012 saw this 3rd fund come to life. Speaking with Levi, he said that, based on the life-cycle of the 2nd fund, this new fund should have been raised between January & September of 2012 – so this fundraising comes right at the tail end of the ‘normal time frame.’

PLF2013 – A pain point for VCs

Levi, who is also Vice President of France Digitale, said that the PLF2013, which will be voted on and likely approved by the Senate at the end of November, “was a big shock” when first announced just a month and a half ago. “France Digitale isn’t mean to discuss fiscal issues…. we had to learn a lot. Fast,” says Levi.
While, of course, France Digitale was happy to see the CIR & JEI not only remain intact but reinforced – likely a direct result of France Digitale’s 4 propositions that they submitted to the French government to help the startup ecosystem – they are also very disappointed by the capital gains tax, which has remained “problematic” for investors & entrepreneurs.
Personally, I don’t think we’ll be seeing VC firms & Angel investors disappear overnight once the PLF2013 is accepted – French startups will still receive funding, though we will have to look more to London for angel investment than we should have to, given the financial success French entrepreneurs-turned-angels have had in recent years. In addition, France does have a culture of overturning its own laws before they ever take effect, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of this law being overturned 2 years from now, before any one is majorly affected or before any major decisions are made.