Tines backer Blossom Capital launches $185m European investment fund

22 Jan 2020

Imran Ghory, Ophelia Brown and Louise Samet. Image: Blossom Capital

Founded by former Index Ventures partner Ophelia Brown, Blossom Capital is launching a new fund aimed at European start-ups.

This morning (22 January), European VC fund Blossom Capital announced the launch of its new $185m fund.

Blossom was co-founded in 2017 by former Index Ventures and LocalGlobe VC investor Ophelia Brown, with the aim of partnering with early-stage, industry-defining founders across Europe. Blossom promises these founders a “perfect balance of US network and operational expertise”, with “local knowledge to tap into Europe’s unrivalled opportunity”.

So far, Blossom has invested in start-ups such as payments unicorn Checkout.com, Irish cybersecurity start-up Tines and London-based travel firm Duffel.

“The volume and quality of European start-ups is now five times what it was five years ago,” Brown said. “The US funds have noticed this and they are investing more frequently and with more capital in the very best European start-ups.

“Blossom Capital has established itself across Europe as the first choice for entrepreneurs in part because of our strong relationships with the US’s very best investors. Today we announce our second fund through which we will keep investing with conviction in European-founded companies that we know will one day operate successfully in global markets.”

The new fund

In a statement, Blossom Capital said that the fund has been raised from limited partners spanning leading institutional investors and high-profile tech entrepreneurs. The second fund comes less than 12 months since Blossom’s first, which was worth $85m.

Blossom partner Imran Ghory said: “When we looked at the data it was very clear at the growth stage that, outside of Index and Accel, the most successful European outcomes were driven by the combination of European early-stage investors and top-tier US growth investors.

“From day one we prioritised building those relationships, both to share knowledge but also provide a bridge for European founders to access the best growth capital as they scale.”

Over the last five years, the volume and quality of European investment opportunities has grown five-fold, according to the firm, with more money than ever coming from US venture capital firms looking to diversify their portfolios on the continent.

This means that European founders now often “want to secure investors who can bring not only money but also the ambition, real operational expertise and networks that can enable them to build for hyper-scale”, according to Blossom Capital.

“Historically, European founders have been forced to relocate to the US with early-stage US funds lacking the local expertise and network to help founders hire and scale on the ground in Europe,” the firm added.

With its latest fund, Blossom is aiming to step into this gap to enable founders to build their start-ups from Europe, with the same level of support they would get in Silicon Valley, with access to follow-on capital from leading growth funds that are becoming more active than ever in backing European leaders.

Blossom’s first fund

Tines co-founder Eoin Hinchy, who received funding from Blossom Capital in October 2019, said: “As an early-stage start-up, we knew how important choosing the right investors would be to our long-term success.

“We chose to work with Blossom because the entire team has an innate understanding of the problems we’re trying to solve and is passionate about helping us grow the way want to. Blossom isn’t just our investor and adviser, the partners are friends and an important part of our team.”

Duffel founder and CEO Steve Domin added: “The Blossom team have been true partners since the early days of Duffel, long before they invested. They are incredibly talented, generous with their time, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty – precisely what you need in the early days.

“They are a game changer in the European VC ecosystem and this new fund is going to massively amplify their impact. We couldn’t be more proud to be part of their portfolio.”

Investing beyond London, Paris and Berlin

Speaking about its future focus, Louise Samet, partner at Blossom Capital, said: “The beauty of investing in Europe is the sheer diversity of teams, cultures and ideas often coming from new or unexpected places.

“Beyond the usual suspects – London, Paris and Berlin – the likes of Munich and Hamburg are fast becoming hubs, while in the Nordics, we’re seeing founders emerging from the alumni of successful start-ups like Spotify and Klarna.

“Discovering founders solving some of society’s biggest problems wherever they are is a significant strength of Blossom Capital and we’re poised to continue this with our second fund.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic