Backed VC firm raises $169.7M to invest in tech entrepreneurs in Europe – VentureBeat

Backed has raised $169.7 million (€150 million) to invest in tech entrepreneurs in Europe across a variety of gaming and tech industries.

The London-based fund is the second raised by Backed, and it said that its focus to champion seed entrepreneurs in Europe with a human-centric model. About half of the money is going into a new seed fund, Backed Core 2, and half is for Backed Encore 1, which is backing its portfolio of existing investments.

Backed’s portfolio has an aggregate value of $12.1 billion, with three existing investments already unicorn status (a value above $1 billion): Thought Machine, Sky Mavis, and Immutable X.

One of its earliest investments, Hutch Games, was acquired by MTG Group for $375 million in November 2020. Backed invested in early rounds of leading United Kingdom entrepreneurs such as Emma Sinclar (Enterprise Alumni), Andy Shovel (This) and James Field (LabGenius).

Today Backed has 10 people, 60 venture scouts, an 18-month proprietary founder support program, and over 30 brand-hosted events annually.

“First and foremost – we wouldn’t be anywhere without the dedication and ambition of the founders we’ve backed,” said Alex Brunicki, partner at Backed, in a statement. “They bring the magic, day-in and day-out, we’re merely a supporting act.”

The Backed logo.

He added “We’ve pushed ourselves to be an entrepreneurial fund. We’ve not always got it right, but we iterate, listen and test at pace. I’d say we’ve made it to our Series A. I couldn’t be more excited about where we stand today and what lies ahead: we’re developing a deeper edge in frontier markets like biotech and crypto; we’re bringing nascent communities together – such as coin-op – in a meaningful way, and we’ve built an exceptional team to support founders at scale.”

Launched in 2016 by partners Andre de Haes and Brunicki, Backed has grown to a team of 10. The portfolio now consists of 67 companies with an aggregate value of $12.1 billion. Four portfolio companies have exited.

Backed’s investors include five major institutions both publicly listed firms such as Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (through their Sienna Capital vehicle) and private firms such as Wilshire Associates, alongside 20 leading venture-focused family offices and over 20 entrepreneurs, including several from Backed’s own portfolio. About 80% of Backed’s recent funding came from existing investors.

Backed’s has an 18-month program with 24 features across startup fundamentals with a special emphasis on people-related factors, including situational leadership training, culture and values workshops, hiring support via an in-house recruiter, access to mental health services, and an in-house executive coach for founders and leadership teams.

The emphasis on community has informed the fund’s event strategy. It hosts over 30 events annually from founder dinners to a 1,000 person party at the Finnish tech conference Slush, and cohosting conferences such as Coin-Op, a global blockchain-gaming summit held at the London Science Museum.

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