A new startup fund has appeared in the city, but with a familiar name. Galleon, a group of technology entrepreneurs who connect and learn from each other, is launching an investment arm called Galleon.XE. They have already raised €30 million ($33 million at current exchange rates) and plan to increase the total fund size from €60 million to €80 million ($66 million to $88 million).
Originally founded in 2015, The Galleon Project started out as a sort of think tank for the tech community. For example, they came up with a template for a fair condition.
“Jean-Baptiste Rudel was convinced that there would be more unicorns in the French tech ecosystem,” Galleon co-founder and CEO Agatha Vautier told me. “The goal was to share as much as possible in order to think big and move fast. We quickly set up a think tank. We have created a knowledge base with various reports and tools for entrepreneurs created by entrepreneurs.”
The project is still evolving as the Galleon community currently has 400 active members. To join this community, you must prove that you have raised at least €3 million, you must be referred by two Galleon employees, and you must pay €2,000 per year.
But very soon, some entrepreneurs in the community became business ambassadors. Some of them wanted to work together on deals and create syndicates.
“At some point, the demand was so great that we felt we had to do something ourselves,” Vautier said.
Around the same time, Willie Brown and Kevin Kuipers left Daphne, another Paris-based venture capital firm. Chloe Monneuron joined the couple as an associate venture capitalist and they all went on to work for investment fund Galion.
They first started getting Galion.exe from the Galion community. I was told that the entry threshold was quite low, since you can participate in a fund with a minimum legal amount for this type of investment.
In addition to these individual investors, Galion.exe will supplement its funds with more traditional limited partners such as institutional investors, family offices, private banks, and others.
“When we left Daphni, we were in a tough position in the seed round. If you look at the number and number of deals, everything doubled in the Serie A round and beyond,” Willie Brown told me. But the same is not necessarily true for the seed round.
Now Galion.exe plans to invest in a dozen companies each year and fill that gap in France. The team will be able to invest from 700,000 to 2.5 million euros, which will allow them to conduct an initial round without a co-investor (although they do not exclude co-investment).
“For the first time, companies from Phase I of the Galleon community can join the Galleon community,” Kevin Kuipers told me.
And it can be a win-win deal for everyone involved. Portfolio companies can learn from colleagues, get to know them and adopt best practices. And Galion.exe can convince fledgling startups to sign a list of terms with them based on that logic alone.