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London pre-seed investor Playfair Capital announces $70M third fund for UK, European startups

PlayFair Capital
Image credits: PlayFair Capital

London-based Playfair Capital, a pre-seed investor, has announced the launch of its third fund at $70 million to deploy across the UK and Europe. 

In contrast to the industry standard of making 30+ investments annually, Playfair invests in only six to eight of the most promising founders per year, enabling the fund to provide personalised support to its portfolio companies. 

Five times more time and energy providers 

The fund’s investment approach prioritises the founders, dedicating five times more time and energy to them than the industry average, providing support for sales, fundraising, financials, hiring, and marketing. 

As a generalist fund, Playfair invests in a variety of areas, including B2B SaaS, applied AI, healthtech, and marketplaces, with an average investment of £750,000. 

Playfair’s portfolio includes companies such as Omnipresent, Protex AI, Orca AI, and Recycleye

In 2022 Playfair’s portfolio raised $570 million in follow-on funding, including from DCVC, First Minute, IQ Capital, Kinnevik, Molten, Notion, Stage 2 Capital, and Tencent.

Improving diversity

Playfair is committed to improving diversity in its portfolio and in the industry at large. 

In fund 2, 29% of its investments were in founding teams with at least one female co-founder. 

The fund also leads the largest D&I initiative in Europe, Female Founder Office Hours (FFOH), which has facilitated over 6,700 sessions since 2019 and helped 25% of founders raise a collective £600 million. 

Playfair’s investment team has grown to six in the past year, with Henrik Wetter-Sanchez promoted to Partner, Jeevan Sunner promoted to Principal, and Andrew Sheffield promoted to Associate to help grow the fund’s impact across fund 3 and beyond.

Chris Smith, the managing partner at Playfair, said: “Playfair is the pre-seed fund that goes against convention and delivers results – we make a select few investments every year and focus our time on helping founders to turn their early-stage ideas into global companies. I’m incredibly proud of everything the team has achieved so far as we look ahead to our 10th anniversary later this year. We’re delighted to be continuing our mission with our third fund, the largest yet for Playfair, which will enable us to double down on our thesis.” 

Henrik Wetter Sanchez, the partner at Playfair, said: “At Playfair, we see a vision of venture the way it really should be. We believe in execution over ideas, we believe in treating founders as equals, and we believe in epitomising the best versions of ourselves, always. We also believe in living these values internally and my career to date at Playfair encapsulates this: giving our team of investors the freedom and trust to fulfill their potential, ultimately becoming go-to mentors to the founders who entrust us with their journey. I couldn’t be more excited about what this next Playfair generation can achieve in the decades to come.”

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