Blossom Capital, the record-breaking VC led by investor Ophelia Brown – is today announcing Cultivate, an angel investment program that will bring together Europe’s next-generation of ambitious founders with established unicorn pioneers such as Des Traynor (Intercom), Guillaume Pousaz (Checkout.com), Nilan Peiris (Transferwise) and Shakil Khan (Spotify).
Cultivate aims to kickstart an angel ecosystem in Europe and to bring it to the same level that exists in the Valley, where successful startups trigger a virtuous cycle as alumni leave to build the next generation of unicorns, backed by experienced operators.
Over the next 12 months, Cultivate aims to invest a total of $5 million into 20 industry-defining startups from across Europe, focused at the seed and pre-seed stage.
Each startup will get an equal investment of $250k. Beyond the capital, each founder who receives investment via Cultivate will be given unprecedented access to individual angel members throughout the year to gain insight, ask advice and learn from their lessons.
A total of 30 members will form Cultivate’s network, all founders or executives from successful unicorns, either founded in Europe or with European HQ.
At launch, members include Des Traynor, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Intercom, Guillaume Pousaz, CEO and founder of Checkout.com, Nilan Peiris VP Growth at Transferwise and Shakil Khan, an early investor in Spotify. Additional angels are expected to join in the coming months.
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“Europe’s tech ecosystem continues to thrive and is home to some of the greatest, most ambitious, most courageous founders in the world,” said Ophelia Brown.
“We set up Cultivate with the aim of giving these founders as much access to capital and experience in Europe as they need to scale. Our ambition is to democratise this access and continue to help tech founders punch well above their weight on a global scale.
“Even in these uncertain times, there are visionaries in Europe doing groundbreaking, fundamental work and this is not the time to be scaling back on innovation. Some of the best ideas and opportunities come in times of crisis and dislocation.
“The pioneers who can rise up in the face of adversity and lead others in a common ambitious mission, will be the ones who win long term. Now, more than ever, is the time when such founders should be encouraged to take risks and we hope Cultivate makes a strong statement that we’re here to support those ambitious ideas and the founders and teams behind them.”
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The angels can refer founders to apply and will be mentoring successful teams in their first 12 months. As the investments are non-exclusive, members are also welcome at any stage to invest personal capital alongside Cultivate’s investment, as well as introduce founders to funds.
Guillaume Pousaz, CEO and founder of Checkout.com said: “As CEOs, we’re keen to find and develop the next-generation of business leaders; to pay it forward, but we don’t have the time to search for and uncover these hidden gems.
“That’s why this scheme is a fantastic opportunity to not only work with Blossom but to tap into their unprecedented, on-the-ground knowledge of the European tech ecosystem.”
Set up in 2017 by the former Index Ventures and LocalGlobe VC Ophelia Brown, Blossom Capital’s vision is to partner with the best early-stage, industry-defining founders across Europe.