New $150m fund, larger team… Dear Felix friends, we have some news!
Two years ago we wrote a little thank you note, when we announced our 1st fund. Here is another one.
When we started Felix Capital late 2014, knocking at the door of potential investors, selling our vision of building a new venture firm, with a distinct strategy and positioning around the Digital Lifestyle revolution, anchored in Europe but with a global outlook, many people told us it would never work, simply too hard… Well, we were persistent, closed the first fund in 2015 and started building Felix, as per our plans and vision. Today, we are delighted and humbled, to announce that we closed our second fund at $150m.
Grateful for the support
We closed in Q1, after a swift (and intense!) process, a few days before our 2nd Annual Meeting in March 2017. We got great support from both existing and new investors (including pension funds, endowments, funds of funds, family offices, and foundations, from Europe, the US and now including Asian investors too), who all really bought into the Felix thesis, team and opportunity. With an initial target of $120m, and eventually over $200m of commitments, we closed at the $150m “hard cap” set for the fund. This fund size is great for our strategy and team size, in line with our portfolio model and the opportunity we are going after. Growing the fund size a bit enables us to bring new investors on board but also to have more flexibility on amounts, geography and portfolio diversification.
Let’s be clear, it is super early in the Felix journey and we still have LOTS to prove, but we couldn’t be in business without the trust, support and capital of our investors, essentially institutions with a long-term commitment to venture and the ability to be long-term partners for Felix. Thank you again for your support!
Yes, it’s all about people
We are still a very young firm, effectively a start-up, but we have grown a bit. We do not plan to ever become very big, we are committed to retain our “boutique” culture and style, with the ability to be good partners to founders. During our investors’ due diligence, one question often came back: “what’s the hardest thing about building a new firm”? The answer is simple, it’s all about people. Team building is hard, in any business, but with a small team the barre is even higher, as every person counts, a lot. So I am very proud to announce today that our senior team can rely on these wonderful people:
- Sasha Astafyeva, joins as Principal having held previously operational roles at various start-ups and before that an investor at TA Associates in London
- Grita Loebsack, joins as Venture Advisor, she was previously CEO Fashion Leathergoods Emerging Brands at Kering, and before that EVP Skincare at Unilever and MD at L’Oreal UK)
- Jon Kamaluddin, already a Felix advisor, becomes an Operating Partner, bringing his experience of scaling digital businesses globally, including Asos (where he was CFO and then Head of International), Farfetch, where he is lead non-executive Director and Klarna, where he is Chairman.
- Last but not least, Antoine Nussenbaum, who joined Felix at inception as Principal, is promoted to Partner, effective immediately. I am particularly pleased with this news. Antoine has behaved from day 1 as a Felix Partner and it’s wonderful to see him grow and thrive on our platform.
With this new fund, we will continue to rely on our amazing group of Venture Advisors. They are our secret weapon, helping on deal sourcing, mentoring founders, opening their networks, etc. We are very grateful for their support (they are all investors in the fund and aligned with our goals).
We couldn’t be more excited by the way Felix is building a diverse and cohesive team, combining talent, ambition and a breadth of experiences, while building a culture of respect and empathy with founders and our partners in the eco-system. This is a key trait that we aim to keep as central to our DNA.
Keeping the main thing, the main thing
When we conceived Felix, we articulated a clear and ambitious vision. This new fund is just a tool as we work relentlessly to achieve this ambitious goal and fulfil the vision:
So we expect continuity. Our mission is simply to be great partners to those founders who are driving the Digital Lifestyle revolution, and earn the right to back them. In fact, since we launched Felix, the best part has been the market feedback, meeting founders that we found relevant to us and becoming relevant to them, showing we can make a difference to their business. Everything we do is with founders in mind, this will not change. This is what we articulated in our Manifesto. Reading it again, we didn’t feel the need to change a single word. Nothing makes us happier than entrepreneurs we meet who have taken the time to read this document and who tell us how it resonated, and how they aspire to work with us as a result.
So what are we looking for?
In terms of stage, we tend to invest early , but we do have the flexibility to invest in companies at later stages were we have very high conviction, access and ability to be relevant. In terms of geography, we focus on Europe and the US (France, the US and the UK have been our top 3 markets so far). Obviously our preference will be to back founders that have the ambition to build global companies (yes Jose Neves at Farfetch we are thinking of you!). Here is the Felix portfolio, illustrated visually around our core investment segments, very much in line with our original strategy.
We backed 21 companies in total (2 are in stealth and undisclosed), at seed, early-stage, mid-stage and growth stage. 80% of our deals have been at Series A or Seed (i.e. early), and we have the flexibility to invest later when it makes sense as we did with Farfetch and Deliveroo. As planned we have focused on consumer brands and platforms (goop, Urban Massage, Papier, Frichti, etc.), which represent 2/3 of the portfolio and enabling technologies for brands, especially SaaS with companies like Mirakl or Yoobic. Our 1st exit took place in 2016 with Olapic, a SaaS tool for Marketers, just 13 months after our investment.
And yes, diversity and common sense matter (a lot)
We checked and saw that 40% of our investments have a female founder or co-founder, which is not a bad starting point, even if we can obviously do better. Such diversity in Founding & Management teams is important, and we are taking this topic very seriously. We haven’t communicated on this so far, as we prefer doing rather than talking. It is reflected on how we are building our team, but also how we are building our portfolio, especially as a large portion of our consumer businesses will target a female population. Talking about team diversity, looking at the 20 people in the Felix extended team, we can count 20 people and 13 different passports from: Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Ukraine and the USA. That’s also a lot of languages spoken too (and some funny accents)!
Even since before closing our first fund, we have had the same poster in our office, it reads “work hard and be nice to people”. To us it’s about the culture we want to build, but it’s also simply about common sense. We aim to be very consistent on this simple principle over time, it should pay off. That’s why we have extra space to welcome friends in our Soho office in London, please come and visit. We have wifi, coffee, lots of (healthy) drinks, the buzz of Soho and importantly plenty of light!
This is year three in the Felix journey, and we are so excited at the prospect of being able to partner with many more founders in the next few years, and share a part of their adventures. This is our mission. We are lucky to do something we love and can’t wait to build Felix’s next chapter. Now lets go back to work! We are open for business!
Oh and one more thing! We are hiring 😃 please apply here if the Felix adventure inspires you, we are looking for an associate to join our team.
Frederic Court / Founder & Managing Partner / Felix Capital