Fly Ventures, the Berlin-based VC that invests in seed-stage European startups within enterprise and deep tech, has raised a new €53 million fund. The firm writes initial cheques of between €500,000 and €1.3 million, and says it is on the hunt for startups developing “novel, advanced technology at the cutting edge of their respective sectors.”
Its debut fund was announced in December 2017, and since then the firm has had two quiet exits to Facebook, as well as backed a number of promising companies. They include autonomous driving startup Wayve, clinical trials marketplace Inato, anti-money-laundering startup Salv and cybersecurity startup GitGuardian.
Founded by Gabriel Matuschka and Fredrik Bergenlid, Fly Ventures was one of the first of a new generation of VC funds in Europe choosing to specialise around a sector, rather than be too general or too local. In this instance, deep tech and the enterprise.
Its founders are also both former founders or operators. Bergenlid previously worked at Google and was one of the brains behind Google Assistant, and Matuschka previously founded travel shopping club TripHunter, which was acquired by brands4friends (now owned by eBay).
The Fly team has expanded since fund one, too. Late last year I reported exclusively that longtime Entrepreneur First (EF) employee Matt Wichrowski was making a career switch to venture capital to provide Fly with a bigger presence in London. And as part of today’s new fund announcement, the firm is revealing that additional team members Marie Wennergren, Felix Wolf and David Malinge, have been promoted to partner.
“Fly is built with our founders in mind; structured to serve their most pressing needs: building complex, industry-defining technologies and selling it to large clients,” says Matuschka in a statement. “Fly delivers on this through its two-team approach, combining the best commercial expertise with leading technical knowledge. A rarity in European venture and one that makes us the best partner for enterprise and deep Tech startups in Europe.”
Adds Wichrowski: “We have a vast talent pool in Europe with deep expertise and experience. That talent has the potential to remake entire industries and that’s what we want our fund to unlock. Venture is pretty simple: find great people and make hard, risky bets that have huge outcomes. A lot of venture today has lost this ethos. It’s become more reserved with risk taking. We at Fly are going back to the heart of what VC is all about.”
Meanwhile, in case you are wondering about those two Facebook acquisitions. They were Bloomsbury AI, a startup that was building natural language processing (NLP) technology to help machines answer questions based on information gleaned from documents; and Scape, a computer vision-based positioning service used for augmented reality. Both acquisitions were done on the quiet. That is, until TechCrunch had other ideas.
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