Meet Andre de Haes; a 28-year-old with what must be one of the most impressive CVs on the planet.
Oxford, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Goldman, J.P. Morgan, The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, Andreessen Horowitz, and Index Ventures can all be found littered across de Haes’ CV. The newest company on de Haes’ CV, however, is not a household name.
“Backed VC” is a €30 million (£23.6 million) startup fund that de Haes launched on Thursday with school friend and fellow Oxford graduate Alex Brunicki.
The fund, which has been quietly run out of London’s Clerkenwell neighbourhood over the last six months, is making investments of between €500,000 (£394,000) and €1 million (£788,000) on average, although there is scope to invest from as little as €200,000 (£157,000) right up to €2 million (£1.6 million). Around one investment is being made each month through the Backed VC fund.
Backed VC is investing in early-stage companies in the same way that Saul and Robin Klein’s LocalGlobe fund does. But while LocalGlobe is primarily going after London startups, Backed VC is trying to spread its investments fairly evenly across Europe.
“Europe needs on a pan-European level seed fund that can provide a more scalable offering,” de Haes told Business Insider ahead of the announcement, adding that he wants Backed VC to do for Europe what Andreessen did for the US.
The fund is only interested in companies that have global ambitions, according to de Haes. “We don’t want to back regional winners and definitely not national winners,” he said.
De Haes and Brunicki believe that their relative youth will set them apart from other venture capital funds. They claim that unlike some other VCs, they’re “culturally connected” to the entrepreneurs in their “clan” and “ingrained in the networks through which they build their teams.”
Interestingly, the duo claim they will share Backed VC’s profits with anyone who refers them to a company that they end up investing in (and profiting from).
Europe’s first $100 billion business
It’s no secret that the UK and Europe are yet to produce a tech company worth $100 billion (£70 billion). The US, on the other hand, has several in the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. De Haes thinks it won’t be too long before this changes.
“Within the next five years, I think there will be a business founded in Europe that will become a $100 billion business,” said de Haes. “In the next decade we’ll have a $100 billion business built out of Europe.”
De Haes said startups are starting to grow rapidly across Europe because there’s a management layer of talent coming out of businesses that have already been built. “There is seed-level expertise available now,” he said, pointing to TransferWise, Criteo, and Supercell.
Backed VC has been operating quietly over the last six months, investing in 10 companies across four cities: London, Paris, Stockholm, and Helsinki. Those companies include music video streaming service Boiler Room, 3D printing startup Unmade, and AI music composing startup Jukedeck.
De Haes, who travelled to five countries in seven days last week (mostly “in economy with Ryanair or EasyJet”) said he and Brunicki are only investing in founders that they can picture leading huge public companies.
“We’re also only investing in industries that are fundamentally better in Europe than Silicon Valley,” added De Haes, going on to say Backed VC is particularly interested in AI and predictive analytics companies.