Ventech, Investing in the Next Generation of Tech Unicorns in Europe

This interview was held by Burak Buyukdemir and the article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a contributor author at Startup Turkey.

The partner:

Jean Bourcereau is a General Partner with Ventech, and has been investing in the Mobile and Infrastructure sectors since 2000, as well as online marketplaces. He brings to the team his expertise in this area as well as knowledge of these industries’ business models and key actors.

Jean serves as a board member for Crocus technology, Ekinops (EKI), Intercloud, Ogury and Unilend. He was instrumental in many of Ventech’s investments, including Altitude Télécoms (ILD), Arteris (QCOM), Ateme (ATEME), Musiwave (MSFT), Muzicall (RNWK), Wengo (VIV) and Withings (NOK).

The firm:

Ventech is an international venture capital fund with 20 years of early-stage investing experience. The international fund originated in Paris has subsequently expanded within Euorpe (Munich, Helsinki) with a sister fund in China. Ventech makes Series A and B investments in Europe with a separate seed funding allocation. Typically, Ventech’s Series A tickets are between €2M-6M for initial investments with the capacity to reinvest (up to €12M total in a company); For seeds, the fund invests between €200K-400K.

The current fund Vehicle was raised in December 2017 and is worth €150M, and 7 Series A deals have been done so far, with a target of 25 deals. The fund is flexible and focuses mainly on startups in Europe, with Turkey and the US being considered too.

The process:

While Ventech receives substantial inbound interest, the team consistently engages its network of entrepreneurs, business angels, financial advisors, and fellow venture capital funds. Quantitatively, the team identified over 2500 qualified opportunities last year, 9 of which are now part of the Ventech V portfolio.

Ventech utilizes a steering committee that vets qualified startups and gives feedback to the Ventech team to guide investment decisions. The length of the process depends on the deal’s size and complexity (with a first meeting to investment team commitment time range between 4 weeks and 3 months).

Jean mentions that for the earliest stage opportunities, the startup’s DNA and team, along with Ventech’s ability to trust that team, are at the core of the go/no-go decision making process. Specifically, Ventech looks for visionary entrepreneurs with the capacity to execute and the sense to build a team that can support this execution of their long-term vision. The entrepreneurs also need to make their case through proof-points (ie addressable market, USP, use cases, customer testaments, user statistics, KPIs).

Jean advises entrepreneurs to generate momentum to streamline, expedite and charge the fundraising process. He argues that it’s important to always keep moving and that it’s essential to ‘out-run’ the competition, suggesting that the fastest and most efficient way to do so is through a personal introduction).

Ventech also has an anti-portfolio who’s ‘all-star’ is Neolane, a French software company ultimately sold to Adobe for $600M; The deal was lost due to a small valuation difference of $3M.

Today, the fund has 4 companies with revenue between €100M-500M: Picanova from Germany, Vestiaire Collective in France, Ogury in London, and Believe Distribution Services.

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