LAUNCHub Ventures, an early-stage European VC which concentrates mainly on Central Eastern (CEE) and South-Eastern Europe (SEE), has completed the first closing of its new fund at €44 million ($53.5 million), with an aspiration to reach a target size of €70 million. A final close is expected by Q2 2021.
Its principal backer is the European Investment Fund, corporates and a number of Bulgarian tech founders and investors.
With this new fund, LAUNCHub aims to invest in 25 startups in the next four years. The initial investment range will be between €500,000 and €2 million in verticals such as B2B SaaS, fintech, proptech, big data, AI, marketplaces and digital health. The fund will also actively invest in the Web 3.0 / Blockchain space, as it has done so since 2014.
LAUNCHub has also achieved a 50:50 gender split in its team, with Irina Dimitrova being promoted to operating partner, and Raya Yunakova, who joins as an investor and previously worked for PiLabs in London, and Mirela Yordanova, who joins as an associate, previously led the startup community at Google for Startups Campus in London.
The investor is mining a rich view of highly skilled developers in the CEE countries where there are approximately 1.3 developers for every 100 people in the workforce. “Central and Eastern Europe's rapid economic growth has caught the attention of Western investors searching for the next unicorn. The region has huge and still untapped potential with more and more local success stories, paving the way for the next generation of CEE tech founders.” said Todor Breshkov, founding partner at LAUNCHub Ventures .
LAUNCHub Ventures competes with other investors like Earlybird in the region, but they tend to invest at a later stage and is more typically a co-investor with LAUNCHub. Nearby Greece also features Greek funds such as Venture Friends and Marathon, but these tend to focus on their core country and diaspora entrepreneurs. Others include Speedinvest (usually focused on DACH) and Credo Ventures, more focused on the Czech Republic and CEE.
LAUNCHub partner and co-founder Stephane Gantchev told me: “Our strategy is to be regional, not to focus specifically on Bulgaria -- but to look at all the opportunities in the region of South-Eastern Europe.”
LAUNCHub Ventures has backed companies including:
Giraffe360 (Robotic camera for real estate listing automation, co-investment with Hoxton Ventures and HCVC)
Fite (Premium direct to consumer digital livestreaming for sports, followed-on by Earlybird)
GTMHub (The world’s leading and most intuitive OKR software, followed-on by CRV)
FintechOS (Banking and Insurance middleware for automation and digital innovation acceleration, followed-on by Earlybird and OTB)
Cleanshelf (Enterprise SaaS management and optimization platform, followed-on by Dawn Capital)
Office RnD (Co-working and flexible office space management, followed-on by Flashpoint Ventures)
Ferryhopper (Ferry ticketing platform for Southern Europe, co-investment with Metavallon)