A new vertical fund from pan-European VC firm Speedinvest is officially outing today. Dubbed “Speedinvest x” and targeting a final closing of €25 million, of which €20.5 million has already been committed, the micro VC fund will target early-stage marketplace startups exclusively.
Specifically, I’m told Speedinvest x will make pre-seed, seed and early Series A investments. This will range from €200,000 to €1 million in European entrepreneurs who are building the platforms and marketplace businesses of tomorrow and/or technologies that enable them.
Aside from a marketplace vertical or technology requirement, the new micro VC says it remains completely sector-agnostic and will back “network effects-powered” platform businesses of any type. In fact, it has already begun doing so, making four investments during the initial closing. I understand they include Myclubs, Sunlight, and Stowga.
Another thing to note is that Speedinvest x will effectively have €50 million to deploy. That’s because investments will be matched by the existing Speedinvest ‘mother’ fund, which will co-invest alongside Speedinvest x on a deal-by-deal basis.
Speedinvest x is headed by Mathias Ockenfels who recently joined Speedinvest, alongside Daniel Hoffer, who is assisting with the launch of the fund. Having previously focused on investments in marketplace startups at Point Nine Capital, as well serving as a General Manager at Uniplaces in Germany, Ockenfels brings plenty of marketplace experience. He’s based in Berlin and will head up Speedinvest’s new Berlin office.
In addition to helping to get the new micro fund off the ground, Hoffer, who is co-founder and former CEO of CouchSurfing, will continue to support Speedinvest x on a part-time basis as “Advisory Partner,” including evaluating investment opportunities and helping portfolio companies succeed. He remains based out of Speedinvest`s San Francisco office.
Michael Schuster, Managing Partner at Speedinvest, says that “verticalization” will have a significant and positive impact on founders, LPs and the firm’s investment team. “Founders can access a vast pool of experience from some of the most successful marketplace models in recent years,” he says, citing the likes of Lieferando, SpotHero, CouchSurfing, Shpock, Xeneta, wikifolio, StarOfService, and Tourradar.
Speedinvest x reckons that there are still many B2B marketplace categories wide open and in need of a “platform approach”. They include logistics, manufacturing, agriculture or construction.
Adds Ockenfels: “I have a strong conviction that the ‘platform trend’ is here to stay and has actually just begun: Centralized or decentralized marketplaces will continue to “eat the world” enabled by new technologies in areas that we cannot even imagine today.