The Cultivate programme was set up to encourage entrepreneurs to pursue business ideas despite the current challenging economic circumstances.
Today (7 April), UK VC fund Blossom Capital announced the launch of its new angel programme Cultivate, which aims to encourage founders despite the difficult circumstances caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Blossom Capital founder Ophelia Brown has launched the programme, working with other European founders and angel investors including Intercom’s Des Traynor, Checkout.com’s Guillaume Pousaz, Nilan Peiris of Transferwise and Spotify investor Shakil Khan.
The programme aims to kick-start an angel ecosystem in Europe to compete with Silicon Valley.
Investing in 20 start-ups
The Cultivate programme, which last 12 months, will see a total of $5m invested in 20 “industry-defining” start-ups from across Europe. The fund will focus on seed and pre-seed businesses. Each start-up will get an equal investment of $250,000.
Beyond capital, each founder in the Cultivate programme will be given access to individual angel members throughout the year for insight and advice.
“Europe’s tech ecosystem continues to thrive and is home to some of the greatest, most ambitious, most courageous founders in the world,” Brown said.
“We set up Cultivate with the aim of giving these founders as much access to capital and experience in Europe as they need to scale. Our ambition is to democratise this access and continue to help tech founders punch well above their weight on a global scale.”
Blossom Capital said that angels can refer founders to apply for the Cultivate programme. As the investments are non-exclusive, members can also invest personal capital alongside Cultivate’s investment, or introduce founders to new funds.
Although the current economy may seem difficult to thrive in, Brown said that it also offers a great opportunity to innovate.
“Even in these uncertain times, there are visionaries in Europe doing groundbreaking, fundamental work and this is not the time to be scaling back on innovation. Some of the best ideas and opportunities come in times of crisis and dislocation,” she said.
“The pioneers who can rise up in the face of adversity and lead others in a common ambitious mission will be the ones who win long term. Now, more than ever, is the time when such founders should be encouraged to take risks and we hope Cultivate makes a strong statement that we’re here to support those ambitious ideas and the founders and teams behind them.”
Pousaz, CEO of Checkout.com, added: “As CEOs, we’re keen to find and develop the next generation of business leaders to pay it forward, but we don’t have the time to search for and uncover these hidden gems.
“That’s why this scheme is a fantastic opportunity to not only work with Blossom but tap into their unprecedented, on-the-ground knowledge of the Europe tech ecosystem.”