Partech Ventures has raised a fresh €400m fund and is “eager to invest more” in UK tech startups, despite Brexit

Lynsey Barber
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Paris still can't compete with London's leadership in tech (Source: Getty)

A French venture capital firm which has previously backed online furniture retailer remains bullish on startups in the UK despite Brexit after raising a fresh €400m (£354m) fund.

The UK remains strategic market for the firm which also has offices in Berlin and San Francisco, while rival cities still have some way to go to catch London as the tech capital of Europe.

“It’s the largest ecosystem in Europe and we don't see it changing in the immediate future,” co-managing partner Philippe Collombel told CIty A.M., adding that it is “eager to invest more in the UK”.

Read more: UK tech has shrugged off Brexit with record investment

“We’re almost certain it's going to remain the best place in Europe [for startups],” he said. “We always have to deal with risk [with Brexit] it’s a bit tougher to manage, but nothing too bad for a professional venture firm.

“London is more and more important to our investment strategy. You can’t be pan-European without the London market. It has all the ingredients still lacking in other European cities."

While Paris is “fighting hard” Collombel said the French capital still has some way to go to become the “city of choice” for entrepreneurs.

Read more: Brexit is forcing this VC to look at tech startups beyond Britain

He welcomed the “wave of opportunism” that came with the election of Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to position itself as a new tech hub. But, the country’s red tape and regulation, such as the complexity of capital gains tax, “needs to change if serious contender to London” he said.

Software, applied artificial intelligence and regtech are areas of interest for the investor in London, where it will hold off on setting up an office until the outcome of Brexit negotiations with the EU. And is closing in on a deal to fund a UK-based SaaS (software as a service) company.

The latest fund is the seventh for Partech - its fourth since the start of 2016 - and will be used to invest in firms at the series A and B stage across Europe and in the US. It has more than €1bn under management and will be on the look out for emerging technologies such as virtual reality, blockchain, robots and cyber security.

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