$550M to Invest in Startups Impacting the World

Denis Barrier
5 min readMay 14, 2020

Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached a significant milestone in raising €500M ($550M), over our original target, for our second venture capital Fund to invest in visionary entrepreneurs impacting the world through technology. Through Fund II, one of three new funds recently recognized by the French Ministry of Economy and Finance for our commitment to technology companies, we’ll continue backing emerging companies at the center of digital revolution. Building on the success of our previous Fund, we’ll continue backing emerging companies at the center of digital revolution, those using artificial intelligence as well as startups pushing forward innovation in sectors such as retail, fintech, healthcare, mobility and energy.

We take a global approach to venture capital, which means that we are local everywhere. With offices across San Francisco, New York, Paris, Munich, Shanghai, Beijing and now Singapore — we ideally invest in startups at the inflection point of growth. These are companies that are really starting to pick up speed, when sales acceleration demonstrates that escape velocity can be reached soon. At this stage, startups still require dedicated and passionate guidance to refine the structure of the company to maximize performance and create long lasting value.

Our main focus is to fund anywhere from $5M to $40M for our initial investment, leading financing rounds of companies with revenues between $5M to $20M. We then re-up in future financings, to further support the growth of the company. We believe our strategy, and support from our worldwide ecosystem, enables us to offer entrepreneurs a uniquely differentiated advantage and is of great usefulness to accelerate innovative startups even further and stronger onto the global stage.

From our unique vantage point, we are seeing economies across the globe beginning to reopen from the coronavirus lockdowns and that the new world that is emerging will look and operate very differently. We are convinced that true recovery will only take place if job growth and economic prosperity has a positive impact on society and benefits all.

In what is sure to be a post-crisis acceleration of the digitalization of the economy, we’ll see an even greater societal need for innovative startups to revolutionize antiquated industries and create a new standard for businesses everywhere — grounded in promoting sustainability and the wellbeing of people and society. They’ll need the backing of investors who believe in their vision and have the capital to grow as well as a firm that goes beyond the traditional VC playbook.

At Cathay Innovation, we’ve written a new playbook to better support this next wave of entrepreneurs to build long-standing committed global leading companies, in the AI and digital era. As we look forward to the next chapter, I’d like to share how our firm plans to invest in startups positively impacting this new world.

The New VC Playbook: Connecting Innovators Everywhere

Cathay Innovation was founded with the vision of making a real difference for mission-driven entrepreneurs out to drive change through technology — and that the best innovators can come from anywhere in the world.

With the globalization of tech, venture capital has expanded across the world yet is still largely siloed by region, limiting the support and access to knowledge firms can provide startups. We set out to remove these limitations by pioneering a unique way to invest in technology — a global platform that unifies tech investment, creating new opportunities and sharing common values by linking startup centers across continents — along with investors, entrepreneurs, leading Fortune 500 companies, and many potential partners from the start.

From the U.S. and Europe to China and Southeast Asia to Africa, we’ve built one of the most extensive early growth venture capital platforms in the world. To support our vision, we’ve amassed some of the top global corporations as investors and partners who collaborate with portfolio companies and grant access to deep industry expertise spanning sectors from financial services, mobility, energy, artificial intelligence, healthcare, and the future of commerce. Cathay Innovation is fortunate to share with its backed entrepreneurs the support from our strategic investors — including Bpifrance, BNPP Cardif, Groupe ADP, Groupe SEB, Michelin, Valeo, GL events, Accor, L’Oreal, Dassault, JCDecaux Holding, Kering, Unilever and Pernod Ricard.

It’s important to note that our strength comes from not only our geographic reach and partners, but largely from the values we hold as people. We are one global diverse team — operating under one thesis driven strategy — with various cultures and experiences all dedicated to helping entrepreneurs solve their greatest challenges with hard work, persistence, sincerity and with an underlying goal of being useful.

By providing entrepreneurs with a massive ecosystem, we can foster deeper relationships and help them thrive and lead faster and stronger in their local market and beyond. Think of our platform as a horizontal layer bridging various ecosystems that empowers knowledge sharing, business development, and access to new markets to activate startup growth opportunities around the world.

Looking Forward to the Next Breakthrough Startups Positively Impacting the World

Since day one, we have built our strategy around the idea that the future of venture capital, startups, incumbent companies, and more broadly innovating for good — is converging. We strongly believe that innovation and startups are a key component in the transition towards a sustainable economy. But they can’t do it alone — it will take a village.

We built our fund for entrepreneurs who genuinely want to have a positive impact. In analyzing our portfolio (along with our peers), we see that many of the most successful companies are also, in fact, the most socially impactful.

So far, we’ve invested in several early stage companies around the world, who now have annual gross revenues that already exceed $100 billion, including Pinduoduo, Chime, KaiOS, Momenta, Kayrros, Glovo, Ledger, Lumi, OnTruck, Owkin, Trifacta and many more. We are thrilled with the momentum and impact we’ve seen from our invested companies, who are well positioned for continued success in the new era.

With the new wave of industrialization and job creation across economies — and an increase in connectivity and internet access for over 2 billion people in emerging markets — there has never been so many opportunities for mission-driven entrepreneurs to drive change through technology.

In the new world, we need to be more agile, think bigger, act faster and most importantly be useful and use technology for good. Now more than ever, it’s critical to be able to think and connect globally while acting locally in a way that brings true value. We should all participate in local recovery while sharing and exchanging knowledge and values that can be beneficial to all.

This is at the core of our VC playbook — leveraging the larger social evolutions at play, taking into account startup’s contribution towards sustainability, analyzing the global competitive landscape, and integrating the insights of our Fortune 500 ecosystem anytime. We believe the global platform approach to venture capital is better suited to support the next wave of entrepreneurs. While we still have a long road to recovery ahead of us, we are excited for this next chapter and look forward to working with the next breakthrough startups positively impacting the world!