Project A Ventures, the early-stage European tech investor pioneering the operational VC model has announced the close of its fourth fund with $375M which will target pre-seed to Series A investments in the most promising founders across the continent. The new $375M fund is thus far Project A’s largest fund raised to date and will bring the company’s total AUM to $1B.
The Berlin-based VC since launching 10 years ago has invested early in some of the most promising European tech companies such as the unicorns Zepz (WorldRemit), Voi technology, Trade Republic, Kry & Sennder as well as unicorns hopefuls Spryker and Uberall. Limited partners of Project A’s new fund generation consist of institutional investors in the US and Europe, German “Mittelstand” companies, selected European corporates and well-connected entrepreneurs.
The Operational VC
The concept of operational venture capital was based on the idea that far too often, the power balance between founders and investors tends to shift towards founders. The founding team of Florian Heinemann, Anton Waitz, Ben Fischer, Christian Weiss, Thies Sander & Uwe Horstmann considering this, sought out a credible competitive edge, not wanting to be just another VC in town.
Other VCs offer reputational transfers to their investments, such as Sequoia or Andreesen Horrowitz, making them stand out irrespective of the specific & targeted assistance offered by the partner. For most companies just starting, this is only a dream unless they are star entrepreneurs with very great and industry-leading products.
Being an operational investor in practice means that on top of the VC’s investment, Project A offers its companies access to its team of investment professionals. Project A’s team presently comprises 140 functional experts in key areas such as software and product development, business intelligence, branding, design, sales, marketing and recruiting.
The VC offers its team of experts to founders, but only if they need the extra help. Last year, Project A’s operational teams worked on more than 100,000 support hours for portfolio companies, in the process enabling them to grow and thrive in their respective markets. Since 2018, the VC has hosted its annual Knowledge Conference, where investors, operators and experts come together to share their knowledge on startup operations and VC with thousands of attendees.
Partnering with Private Equity
With the new fund, Project A will continue investing in founding teams that are reshaping their industries with a particular focus on B2C and B2B models in the sectors of: fintech, commerce, enterprise software, climate tech, data infrastructure and supply chain. As much as the majority of deals will be B2B focused, Project A will continue its investments in consumer businesses.
Project A has also announced that it has plans to expand its PE co-investment practice, with the hope to invest up to $80M in private equity deals. The German VC is keen on applying the experience it has gained by investing and scaling startups for over a decade, at the ‘growth’ end of the market. Over the last years, Project A has amassed a portfolio of 11 private equity co-investments. The fund’s new initiative to invest alongside PE funds is a testament to Project A’s commitment to investing over a company’s lifetime.
“We have accrued a huge amount of expertise in how to help technology companies grow and reach scale. Having shown that this knowledge can be transferred into the more mature buy-out environment, we are keen to double down on this opportunity. By investing alongside world-leading PE funds, we are able to offer more mature companies operational implementation know-how of our experts, strategic guidance and extensive knowledge sharing by our early-stage portfolio,” highlights Ben Fischer, General Partner at Project A.