French VC firm Ring Capital raises $170 million fund

Startups



Meet Ring Capital, a brand new VC firm based in Paris. The firm just raised a new $170 million fund (€140 million) and might still be raising another $10 million or so for this fund.

Many new VC firms tend to focus on seed rounds at first. Ring Capital thinks there’s a Series A and Series B gap in France. That’s why Ring Capital plans to invest around €5 to €10 million ($6 to $12 million) in each company — sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.

Ring Capital has already invested in one company and plans to invest in around 15 companies using this fund. Of course, there might be more funds down the road.

“We’ve been investing in tech startups for 15 years,” Nicolas Celier told me. “When growth picks up, that’s when you need to sell the company because you’re already thinking about the next fund.”

Ring Capital wants to reverse this trend and invest a bit later. The fund even says that it is willing to buy back some shares to partially cash out founders, early employees and early investors.

Celier says that many private equity firms are looking at tech startups because it’s a big opportunity right now. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that private equity firms have the technical knowledge to bet on winners.

From day one, Ring Capital has put together a team of investors who don’t share the same background and can provide additional value.

Geoffroy Bragadir was both an investor and an entrepreneur. Nicolas Celier is a venture capitalist at heart. Alban de La Breteche has a technical background and worked on research and development projects at Criteo. Marie-Capucine Lemétais was Head of Marketing Western Europe for the Danish Fintech Saxo Bank. Nicolas Bailly worked with Bragadir as an analyst. Thomas Marsal worked on data operations for Stuart. Hagera Sendabad was Operations Manager at Mention.

“Beyond the technical background of the team, when you’re in the tech industry, you can see that most companies that gain long-term value have technological assets,” Bragadir told me. “We think we have an ability to understand complex tech challenges. We can leverage that and foster those technological assets.”

Limited partners include Bpifrance through the “Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir”, AG2R La Mondiale, BRED, Danone and Tikehau Capital. Around 75 business angels, such as Morgane Sézalory (Sézane), Hugues Le Bret (Compte Nickel), Thierry Petit (Showroomprivé), also invested in Ring Capital and are willing to help portfolio companies with introductions and advice.

Many of those mentors were CTOs or engineers. The firm tried to invite as many technical people as possible, even if they could only invest a limited amount of money in the fund. So it’s clear that Ring Capital is going to be looking at tech startups with a strong tech product.



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