Four tech entrepreneurs have launched an investment platform with a €250m (£216m) early-stage fund to back the next generation of tech founders.
Plural, set up by founders and backers of some of Europe’s fastest-growing tech companies including fintech Wise, intends to lead early-stage rounds between £864m (€1m) and £8.6m (€10m) into around 20 companies over the next 12 months.
Plural founders Taavet Hinrikus, Sten Tamkivi, Ian Hogarth and Khaled Helioui have founded four start-ups – Wise, Songkick, Teleport and Certific – and played a significant role in building Skype, Bigpoint and Topia.
In Europe, just 8 per cent of tech investors are former entrepreneurs compared to more than half in the US. Plural’s founders believe their experience in building tech companies will be valuable in helping the next generation of founders build global companies.
All four have also been angel investors. Companies in their portfolio include Deliveroo, Hopin, Pipedrive, Chorus, Uber, Zego and Bolt.
Hinrikus said: “We’re the investors we would have liked to have when we were building our own companies. Founding a company is a craft and the best way to learn that craft is to work alongside those who have done it before.”
Hogarth said: “We call experienced founders ‘unemployables’, because once you’ve experienced the intense authorship that comes with creating something new, it’s hard to work for anyone again. We created Plural to give unemployables a place to call home and put their entrepreneurial energy behind missions and founders they deeply believe in.”
Helioui said: “So much opportunity is left untapped today as exceptional founders often fail to meet standard investors’ pattern recognition criteria. Sadly, investors lack the risk appetite needed to fulfil founders’ ambitions and consequently the full impact founders seek cannot be realised. By changing the funding mechanisms that act as conservative gatekeepers today we can unlock so much potential.”
Tamkivi added: “We are huge optimists for the potential of technology coming from Europe which can benefit the whole world, as well as improve the lives of people across the continent. We’ve already seen the real impact a well-funded start-up scene can have on economies in small countries like Estonia — now it is time to scale this GDP level impact across the whole of Europe.”