VentureFriends, the Athens-based VC that has backed the likes of Homie and Weengs, is announcing its new fund, with a first closing of €45 million.
‘VentureFriends II’ sees the VC firm pick up where its original €20 million fund left off, with a remit to do seed investments in Greek startups and beyond that have global ambitions.
Specifically, the VC fund, which counts LPs as the European Investment Fund, the Greek ESIF FoF, Equifund and several individuals and family offices, is on the look out for seed-stage tech startups in its sweet spot of e-marketplaces, e-commerce, and SaaS.
I’m told it plans to write a company’s first cheque of up to €1 million. There’s also the option to add another €5 million to the fund, with a final closing target of €50 million, although this may not come to fruition.
Notably, VentureFriends’ second fund has already disclosed a first investment, participating in Stasher’s recent funding round. The startup (formerly known as CityStasher) is billed as an ‘Airbnb for luggage’ and offers a network of brick and mortar businesses across Europe that will store your luggage for a few hours in between commutes.
Meanwhile, the two year-old ‘VentureFriends I’ made 21 investments during its lifetime, which feels like a pretty rapid deployment of capital. These have mostly been in Greece-based startups with an international outlook, including Blueground, a company offering high-quality mid-term accommodation for business executives ad expats. The company manages over 700 properties in New York, Dubai, Athens and Istanbul.
Another example cited by VentureFriends is Welcomepickups, which two years into existence is now present in 20 cities in Europe and Asia. The startup can be thought of as a travel concierge, spanning transfer services, essential products, pre-ordered tickets to top attractions, tips and tailor-made experiences led by locals.
The two Partners of VentureFriends are Apostolos Apostolakis and George Dimopoulos. Apostolakis previously co-founded e-shop.gr, the first e-tailer in Greece, and in 2011 he co-founded e-food, a food delivery marketplace acquired in 2015 by Delivery Hero, providing a major exit for the Greek startup ecosystem. He and Dimopoulos were also among the first angel investors in Taxibeat, the taxi app that sold to Daimler in February 2017.