Monday 30 November 2020 1:37 pm

High-profile tech founders back $111m London startup fund

A string of big-name tech founders including former Google boss Eric Schmidt are backing a new fund to invest in startups in the US and across Europe.

London-based Firstminute Capital today unveiled a $111m (£83m) venture capital fund after securing support from some of the world’s top tech executives.

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More than 70 founders of billion-dollar unicorn businesses have contributed to the fund, including the brains behind Ocado, Wayfair and Palantir.

Firstminute was founded in 2017 by tycoon Brent Hoberman and former Goldman Sachs analyst Spencer Crawley.

The new fund follows an initial $100m fund, taking the company’s total assets under management to $211m.

“European technology is reaching escape velocity, and it’s fantastic to enable so many global serial entrepreneurs to give their experience to the next generation,” Hoberman said in a statement.

“Seed venture investing is attracting ever higher quality backers which will help more founders succeed.”

The fund will come as a major boost to early-stage startups and marks a major show of faith in Europe’s burgeoning venture capital scene.

While the UK and Europe have traditionally lagged behind the US and China in producing major tech giants, the region has seen a recent surge in new businesses.

Deliveroo, Darktrace and Music Magpie are among the British businesses that are now eyeing up major initial public offerings in London.

The rise of new tech titans has attracted attention from venture capital firms in the US, with SIlicon Valley mainstay Sequoia recently opening an office in London.

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RIT Capital Partners is the principal investor in Firstminute’s new fund, marking its first backing for a European venture capital firm.

Other investors including Chinese tech giant Tencent, London-based venture firm Atomico and German group Henkel.