New €250m European tech fund launched by founders, for founders

28 Jun 2022

Wise and Plural co-founder Taavet Hinrikus at a TechCrunch event in 2014. Image: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch (CC by 2.0)

Plural, which aims to be a ‘hands-on investor’, has been started by tech founders with decades of company-building experience.

A new investment platform called Plural has been launched by a group of European entrepreneurs. It is looking to back early-stage tech start-ups with an initial fund of €250m.

Plural has been created exclusively by founders and operators who have decades of company-building experience. It wants to be a “hands-on investor”, with a focus on leading early-stage rounds between €1m and €10m.

The founders of Plural said that the vast majority of investors in Europe lack the experience of building tech businesses. They noted that only 8pc of investors in Europe are former entrepreneurs, which is a contrast to more than 50pc of US investors.

The founding members include Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, Songkick co-founder Ian Hogarth, former Bigpoint CEO Khaled Helioui and Teleport co-founder Sten Tamkivi. Plural said other recognised founders will announce themselves soon.

“We’re the investors we would have liked to have when we were building our own companies,” Hinrikus said. “Founding a company is a craft and the best way to learn that craft is to work alongside those who have done it before.”

Hinrikus was the CEO of fintech Wise until 2017. This week it was revealed that his fellow co-founder Kristo Käärmann is being investigated in the UK after he defaulted on tax payments worth around £720,000.

Image of eight people, four are visible and four are silhouettes. The Plural company name is on the top left of the image.

From left: Plural founders Ian Hogarth, Sten Tamkivi, Khaled Helioui and Taavet Hinrikus. Image: Plural

Plural’s founders have experience with angel investing as well as building businesses, with their combined portfolio including Deliveroo, Hopin, Pipedrive, Chorus, Uber, Zego and Bolt.

The team has already made 14 investments with the launch of Plural, backing start-ups such as energy storage company Field, metaverse company Ready Player Me, and NFT infrastructure company NFTport. Plural aims to scale its team to 10 founders by next year, with plans to have four to five deals a year per investor.

“We call experienced founders ‘unemployables’, because once you’ve experienced the intense authorship that comes with creating something new it’s hard to work for anyone again,” Hogarth said.

“We created Plural to give unemployables a place to call home and put their entrepreneurial energy behind missions and founders they deeply believe in.”

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Wise and Plural co-founder Taavet Hinrikus at a TechCrunch event in 2014. Image: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic