Here’s how we are reimagining the VC firm model with the soft-launch of Dutch Founders Fund
Today, we are announcing the soft-launch of our new venture capital fund: Dutch Founders Fund. For the past months, we have been working hard in semi stealth-mode under the name August Ventures.
But that name didn’t resonate well with what we want to become: a truly founder-friendly, early-stage technology VC.
Hence the name: Dutch Founders Fund.
That being said, it may come as no surprise that with our fund, we will put an emphasis on investing in founders who have proven track record. As former founders, we are quite aware that a “second-time founder syndrome” exists — we have all lived and experienced it one way or the other ourselves.
Yet it’s also no secret, serial entrepreneurs are quite often “blindly” backed by VCs because entrepreneurship is a skill that can only be mastered by doing.
To us, what matters most is a strong founder team. Period.
It’s our scope to make direct tech investments into these companies with strong founder teams, but we will not hesitate to establish co-investments with trusted allies and renowned third parties.
The ideal moment for us to step in, is when a company has found its first revenue with proof of concept.
We believe we have created an A-team with the competencies required to make outstanding entrepreneurs “VC-ready”. We know, a lot of funds proclaim exactly the same thing. But there’s one fundamental difference: we have been on the other side of the table many, many times ourselves. We all know what it’s like to have shareholders on board, for the first, or the second time.
It’s not always easy. But we all realize, a good investor will guide you through the rough patches and there are many in early-stage tech companies. That being said, we have taken a different approach to funding a startup. Our data-driven and thorough guidance will certainly make a big impact on the good and the bad times ahead.
We will not only pour much-needed capital into a startup (our ticket sizes range from €250,000 to €5 million), but we will also sit down with the entrepreneurs to create an elaborate financial dashboard and tooling that will provide us — and them! — with a full 360 view of the company’s progress, 24/7.
Building a truly successful company is all about the right form of reporting and setting the right KPIs. If that means we’ll have to focus less on revenue, we will not hesitate to do so.
This intensive form of reporting and dashboarding allows us to rapidly, repeatedly, and instantly make joint decisions based on metrics, not merely on gut-feeling. We never want to be in the situation that we will look at each other in the eye and say: how the hell did this happen?
And, it also means we’re in the same boat, even in times of a storm. If we still manage to fuck something up, we’ll fuck it up together. No finger-pointing needed.
In the end, it’s all about creating the fundament of a company that will be able to handle the kind of growth a VC is looking for. Let me repeat it one more time, our goal is to make companies VC-ready.
Creating a new kind of VC fund is not solely about making it founder-friendly and companies VC-ready. We came to realize the current venture capital fund-model is kind of broken, too, and in dire need of disruption.
With that in mind, we starting reimagining the way funds work with our skilled partner, the niche legal firm Van Campen Liem, on what can be best referred to as the VC firm 2.0.
Let’s skip the boring details and legal mumbo-jumbo. What we did is that we have created a cooperative entity that makes it super-easy for new LPs to participate in the fund, and without having to go through the setup of a special purpose vehicle for each individual transaction.
We are ready to make big things happen.
Eric Veeneman and Hidde Hoogcarspel, founders and fund managers
Venture Partners :
Laurens Groenendijk (founder Hiber, Treatwell (exit), Just Eat Benelux (exit))
Bas Beerens (founder and executive chairman WeTransfer, founder WeMarket)
Patrick Kerssemakers (founder FonQ (exit), chairman LOEY Awards)