Backed by Google’s Eric Schmidt, London-based VC Firstminute launches second £87M fund


London-headquartered Firstminute Capital announced its second early-stage venture fund of £87 million. Right now, the company is backed by 70 unicorn founders, alongside a host of global CEOs. 

Plans to invest across Europe and US

Founded by Brent Hoberman and Spencer Crawley in 2016, Firstminute now has $211 million (approx £158 million) in assets under management with plans to invest across Europe and the US at the seed stage. The company’s team of 18, is based in London, Stockholm, and Berlin — with plans to open an office in LA next year. 

The Firstminute’s entrepreneur-led investor base is unique in venture. It includes 16 founders of $10 billion+ “decacorn” technology businesses, including Palantir, Wayfair, Ocado, MongoDB, Zalando, Supercell, and Check Point, as well as founders from Huda Beauty, Graphcore, and Rappi. Included are board members and CEOs from large technology companies.

The former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt also backed the new early-stage European venture capital fund from London firm Firstminute Capital.

RIT Capital Partners – anchor investor

RIT Capital Partners is the fund’s anchor investor, their first such position in a European venture capital firm. The company previously backed leading US funds including Sequoia, Benchmark, Thrive, and Iconiq. 

Additional institutional investors include the Chinese technology giant Tencent, FMCG conglomerate Henkel, London-based venture fund Atomico, Vitruvian, and four Californian multi-stage firms.

Sector agnostic

The Firstminute will continue its investment approach of being founder-led and sector agnostic, with an average initial investment of $1-2M, and half the fund reserved for follow-ons.  The existing Fund I portfolio consists of 56 companies that have collectively raised approximately $0.5 billion (approx £0.3 billion) in funding. 

According to Firstminute, Half of the current portfolio companies have UK headquarters, with the remaining half split between continental Europe and North America. Two-thirds of the businesses are B2B and one Third are B2C.

Brent Hoberman, Firstminute Co-founder & General Partner, said: “European technology is reaching escape velocity, and it’s fantastic to enable so many global serial entrepreneurs to give their experience to the next generation: we have over 70 unicorn founders joining us on this journey so far, and more to come as we approach final close. Seed venture investing is attracting ever higher quality backers which will help more founders succeed.”

Team changes 

The London-based VC also announced some changes in the team. Arek Wylegalski, formerly of Index Ventures, has joined Firstminute as a partner for Fund II. Lina Wenner, formerly of BCG, has been promoted to Associate Partner, and Camilla Mazzolini, Clara Lindh Bergendorff, and Sam Endacott have been promoted to Principals. Min Nolan, Head of Platform & Operations, and Anais Benazet, Head of Community, lead the portfolio support function, whilst Henry Lane-Fox, Steve Crossan and Tommy Stadlen continue to invest as venture partners.

Arek Wylegalski, Firstminute Partner, said: “In a post-Covid-19 world, the line between a digital and a non-digital business has become thinner. The technology sector has stepped up. Thanks to the rapid adoption of remote work, many business processes that had previously escaped digitisation are now becoming fully digital – and often automated. 

Lina Wenner, Firstminute Associate Partner, said: “At Firstminute we are unashamedly sector agnostic. We focus obsessively on finding exceptional and resilient entrepreneurs. We gravitate towards those entrepreneurs with the boldest missions.”