Blossom Capital, the venture capital firm co-founded by ex-Index Ventures and LocalGlobe VC Ophelia Brown, is announcing that it has raised an $85 million fund to invest in European tech startups at the Series A stage.
LPs in the new fund, which TechCrunch reported early details of 12 months ago, are said to span leading institutional investors, as well as high-profile tech entrepreneurs. The latter includes Robinhood co-founder Vladimir Tenev and Zendesk founder Mikkel Svane.
Meanwhile, alongside Brown, Blossom’s other partners are Imran Ghory, who previously led data-driven deal sourcing at Index and was head of data insights at MarketInvoice; Mike Hudack, who until very recently was CTO at Deliveroo and prior to that a director of product at Facebook; and Louise Samet, a fairly active angel investor who previously worked at Klarna as a digital product manager.
Also noteworthy, eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the new VC firm appears to have lost a founding partner already: former Uber China executive Candice Lo was previously listed on the Blossom Capital website as a Blossom co-founder and partner, but TechCrunch understands has since departed.
“It’s been an honour being part of the team at Blossom, but I am leaving to spend more time with family,” said Lo in a statement issued to TechCrunch. “The fund has reached an incredible milestone and I will be cheering the team on as they continue to grow Blossom in Europe.”
In a call with Brown late last week, she said that Blossom aims to distinguish itself from other Series A investors in Europe by embracing a more “West Coast” approach with what she calls “high conviction” investing. The firm will write larger cheques than many Series A investors — in the region of $5 million to $10 million — and plans to do only four-five deals per year, which, again, is quite unusual.
The idea is to place fewer but bigger (and potentially riskier) bets and give the limited number of companies Blossom backs enough runway to get to a meaningful Series B. Arguably, it also means the Blossom team, which remains small, won’t be spreading too thin the support offered to its portfolio.
On that note, Blossom has already backed four companies: Duffel, Fat Llama, Frontify and Sqreen. Co-investors have included Y Combinator, Greylock and Index Ventures — some decent names for a new firm, to say the least.
Another aspect that Brown talked up is Blossom’s use of data to source and support deals. Both partners Ghory and Hudack have technical backgrounds — which should make them especially technical-founder-friendly — and I’m told the firm has developed technology that pulls in various data to look for signals of promising companies across Europe’s disparate and fragmented ecosystem.
The thinking, says Brown, is to ensure a small firm like Blossom can still source deals in some of Europe’s more hidden tech hubs, rather than just the major ecosystems. She declined to go into much detail on exactly what data is being used, obviously careful not to give away any of Blossom’s secret source.
More broadly, VCs are increasingly pinning more of their success on the use of data, whether that be throwing data scientists and analysts at the problem or building bespoke software. Two other European firms thought to be taking a similar approach to Blossom are London-based InReach Ventures and Berlin’s Fly VC.
“If you look at the big outcomes in Europe, around 70 percent of them today came from outside of the major hubs, in countries such as Romania, Finland and Portugal,” writes Brown in a blog post. “Data allows us to cover the entire continent, not just the major and overfished capitals like London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm.”