Brent Hoberman, co-founder of lastminute.com, has raised $60m to invest in technology start-ups across the region through his new seed fund.
Firstminute Capital is being backed by 23 founders of leading technology companies as well as an undisclosed cornerstone investment from Atomico, the London-based venture capital fund run by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype.
Investors include the co-founders of some of Europe’s most successful tech companies, including Skype, Supercell, Betfair, Trulia, Skyscanner, Net-a-Porter and BlaBlaCar. The fund has also drawn in several family offices and a clutch of corporate executives, including Lord Davies, former chairman of Standard Chartered bank.
Firstminute will aim to make investments of up to $750,000 in a range of tech companies across Europe, focusing heavily on “deep tech” businesses in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Some people are very vocal that Europe is far behind the US in developing its start-up sector and has been slow to realise the benefits of a digital single market. I disagree with this as we have had great successes such as JUST EAT, Transferwise and Zoopla amongst many others and we also have strong early stage investors such as LocalGlobe and Seedcamp, top tier venture capital is strong with the likes of Index Ventures etc, yes we are far from being rivals to Silicon Valley, but that is rapidly changing and London especially has demonstrated it’s might.
Brent explains that Firstminute differs from other early stage funds in that it would be able to tap into such a broad community of supporting entrepreneurs to offer advice commenting “The main difference is that we can be extremely helpful to founders based on the record of what this group has achieved,” He also explained he was hopeful that London could continue to attract talented entrepreneurs from around the world “We have some real positives in London: second generation entrepreneurs, capital and corporates. We will have to do a lot wrong to stop that,” he said.
As well as co-founding lastminute.com, with Henry and Martha Lane Fox, Mr Hoberman co-founded Founders Forum, a private group of tech entrepreneurs and Founders Factory a venture builder working with corporates such as L’Oreal and Aviva.
Firstminute’s co-founder is Spencer Crawley who will become head of investments and has also been involved with Founders Factory.