When we decided to launch VentureFriends back in 2015, we were driven by a very clear and urgent mission. As entrepreneurs and angel investors we had experienced first-hand the gap in funding for Greek startups.
Therefore, we launched VentureFriends in 2016 because we felt the need and also saw the opportunity to support Greek tech entrepreneurship.
Whilst mainly investing in Greek founders in the early days of VF, we regularly came across great international entrepreneurs in our relevant spaces: B2C, marketplaces, fintech, proptech and traveltech. These were founders we enjoyed working with and who also shared a similar need for capital and support from likeminded, experienced, entrepreneurial investors.
At the end of the day, all entrepreneurs are fighting against the odds and face similar challenges. These challenges and lack of funding were certainly not just a Greek phenomenon, but keenly felt in Eastern and Southern Europe as well.
Additionally, we always felt the need to interact and work with founders on a wider geographical basis. We enjoy learning from different people and benefit from the diversity of cultures and views they bring. Therefore, with our second fund we deliberately opened up to make a few more international investments. We invested in startups from Spain (Belvo), UK (Plum, Tymit & Homemade), Austria(Byrd), and even Ukraine (Influ2). This proved our hypothesis that talent and opportunity are everywhere.
Last year as we started thinking about our third fund, we took the decision to become an international VC even when it came to our team. We looked for a team member to be based in London and we were very happy to have had Alistair join us. We were already commuting to London on a monthly basis, but it is different having a team member based there. Having a presence in London helps with meeting new startups, since many European founders fundraise in the most active city in Europe, as well as supporting existing portfolio companies. It allows us to keep in touch with other investors, since most of them are based in London, as well as being closer to new ideas and other relevant people in tech.
This year as we are launching VF3 we decided to grow our team further and support our wider geographical scope. Therefore, we are very happy to have Michal join us in Poland. Michal is a like-minded and experienced person in tech who will help us liaise with more Eastern European founders. We always saw the potential in Poland and we have been involved with a few great startups like Booksy and Packhelp that started from there or Spotawheel that has a solid presence in the country.
We believe that Eastern Europe, including the neighboring Balkan countries such as Romania Bulgaria and others, have a huge untapped potential of founders who are eager and capable of creating global companies. With the addition of Michal, we are confident that we will be in a better position to meet and support new promising entrepreneurs from the region. We aim to do at least five seed/series A investments in the CEE region in the next three years and further enrich the diverse VF community with ambitious CEE founders that are looking to have a global impact.
We always had the ambition for VentureFriends to be a European VC that could support the wider tech ecosystem. The recent addition of our international team members is a natural evolution for us and brings us closer to that goal.
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