London-based BACKED, which claims to be a human-centric venture capital fund, announced on Tuesday that it has raised €150M for two new funds. The amount is split between a €75M ‘BACKED Core 2’ fund and a €75M ‘BACKED Encore 1’ fund.
‘BACKED Core 2’ fund will continue to invest in Seed-stage startups, while the ‘BACKED Encore 1’ will do follow-on investments in later-stage rounds of its existing portfolio companies.
BACKED’s investors include five institutions, publicly-listed firms such as Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, through its Sienna Capital vehicle, and private firms such as Wilshire Associates, alongside 20 venture-focused family offices and over 20 entrepreneurs. Several of them are from BACKED’s own portfolio. 80 per cent of the firm’s recent funding came from existing investors.
Alex Brunicki, Partner at BACKED, says, “We’ve pushed ourselves to be an entrepreneurial fund. We’ve not always got it right, but we iterate, listen and test at pace. I’d say we’ve made it to our Series A. We’re developing a deeper edge in frontier markets like Biotech and Crypto; we’re bringing nascent communities together – such as Coin-Op – in a meaningful way; we’ve built an exceptional team to support founders at scale.”
“We back founders over markets”
Launched in 2016 by partners Andre de Haes and Alex Brunicki, BACKED is a human-centric venture capital fund. The firm says its values are ‘Put People First’, ‘Be An Apprentice’, ‘Push the Limits’, and ‘Bring Good Energy’.
The firm has helped over 110 entrepreneurs scale more than 60 companies across Europe. Its portfolio consists of 67 companies with an aggregate value of €10.7B, including three unicorns – SkyMavis, Axie Infinity, and Immutable X. Four portfolio companies have exited, including mobile gaming studio, Hutch Games, which sold to MTG for $375M in November 2020.
According to a statement, BACKED was also one of the earliest firms to launch a Venture Scout programme in Europe. To date, four investments have been made via their network of 60 Venture Scouts, including cellular agriculture startup Hoxton Farms and Black beauty brand Afrocenchix.
Human-centric venture capital firm
Acting on its human-centric ethos, BACKED runs a 18-month founder support programme offered to all early-stage founding teams. The programme contains 24 features across startup fundamentals with an emphasis on people-related factors, including situational leadership training, culture and values workshops, hiring support via an in-house recruiter, access to mental health services, and an in-house executive coach for founders and leadership teams.
Speaking on BACKED’s human-centric approach, Andre de Haes says, “We believe in the human-factor: as a seed founder, you are your company’s most valuable asset. It’s the reason we take bets on genius even when faced with huge technical and market uncertainty. It’s also why we focus our offering on supporting entrepreneurs to scale as leaders – personal growth and company growth are directly correlated.”
“From day zero our dream has been to build a community, not just a fund. Today there are more funds than ever in Europe, but still very few communities uniting the most talented founders through deep friendships anchored on mutual support, a shared hunger for self-development and truly bold ambitions. Getting BACKED is about belonging,” he adds.
The emphasis on community has informed the fund’s event strategy, hosting over 30 events annually from founder dinners to a 1,000 person party at the Finnish tech conference Slush, and co-hosting conferences such as Coin-Op, a global blockchain-gaming summit held at the London Science Museum.