IDInvest's got a new €140 Million fund, so why are team members leaving?

IDInvest's got a new €140 Million fund, so why are team members leaving?
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IDInvest announced the closing of their latest fund, €140 Million, on the back of a very successful previous fund. IDInvest has invested in Deezer, Dailymotion, Meetic & Criteo, as well as SIGFOX and Syntehsio (which haven’t exited yet, but look promising). IDInvest’s investors include their historic partner, Allianz France (which recently opened up an accelerator in the south of France, head up by Sylvain Theveniaud), as well as Lagardère and Up.
IDInvest has historically been, in France, among the top VCs – the most active, the largest funds, the best deals – alongside Partech, Ventech, Elaia, Alven, Iris & 360 Capital – however, IDInvest VCs have been leaving the firm recently. In fact, Guillaume Lautour, highly regarded among VCs in France, who was with IDInvest since 1999 and is behind investments in Deezer, Dailymotion, Criteo & Pretty Simple Games (among many others), recently downsized his involvement in the fund to “Venture Partner” (i.e: managing his existing investments but stepping down from future investments), having moved on become Managing Partner of Level-Up, a fund focused on Gaming (a sector Lautour knows very well).
In addition, Laurent Dumas-Crouzillac, who arrived in 2006 and is behind investments like Sigfox, has also moved on to A-Plus Finance, another investment fund.
Much of the departures have been said to be due to the fact that Managing Partner Benoist Grossman (on the board of Viadeo, Winamax, Sigfox, and Kantox), who has been with IDInvest since 2002, has been scooping up a significant percentage of the carry-over that VCs typically get when successful investments exit.
If this is true, then IDInvest is certainly not the only French VC firm suffering from this problem. Carry-over is determined in most VC firms by seniority, meaning that junior VCs looking to make a name for themselves wouldn’t receive significant carry for their successful investments, and their colleague may even benefit more than they do. Theoretically, this means that Marie Ekeland, a former Partner who arrived late in Elaia and invested in Criteo’s seed round, wouldn’t see as much carry as her more senior colleagues, despite being on the board of Criteo (still today) and having worked heavily on Criteo’s IPO – Ekeland has since left Elaia to start Daphni, as she shared with us at Paris Founders Event last week.
There are plenty of new funds popping up in France because experiences VCs are seeing that their efforts aren’t being rewards, because there are still senior partners above them who are arguably less involved with the day-to-day, who are cashing in on their seniority. Hopefully the new funds that these VCs are building will bring in more equitable carry over for their team members.
Update: A previous version of this article reported that A+ Finance was a fundraising advisor.

One Response

  1. Avatar
    Jeremie

    The right wording in the Private Equity industry is carried interest (vs carry over).
    Aside from this semantical detail, keep in mind that French VC performance is overall, over the last decade (life of a fund), barely breakeven because the few exits/good investments don’t make up for the mass of average/poor performers, which is’nt so different from the rest of europe, meaning that for most VC’s, carried interest remains more of a concept rather than big bucks (keep in mind also that carried interest is linked to the performance of a whole fund and not just one exit). So if on top of that the little that there is to share isn’t shared fairly between the team, then departures are more than predictable. Now that said, this is nothing more than the story of the global private equity industry across ages 🙂

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