If you’re a French entrepreneur, there’s a new venture capital firm in town. Ovni Capital is announcing a first closing of €50 million ($54 million at today’s exchange rate) for its early-stage fund.
The firm’s two general partners Arnaud Laurent and Augustin Sayer have already invested in several companies in their previous jobs. Laurent has worked with Didier Soucheyre to create XLR Capital and invest in startups like MWM and Onoff. He’s also invested in early-stage startups through WeSprint, a startup accelerator.
Sayer grew up in the U.S. and started his career there. More recently, he was a partner at Newfund Capital where he invested in 22 different startups, such as FairMoney and Umiami.
When it comes to the firm’s investment thesis, Omni Capital wants to back new startups with strong international ambitions from day one. According to the Ovni team, many French entrepreneurs still think about global expansion too late. That’s why the number of unicorns per capita is higher in Berlin or Stockholm than in France.
“Statistically, we also see that French startups are three times more likely to raise a Series B if they take this international approach from the start,” Augustin Sayer said in a statement.
In addition to that focus on startups with foreign employees or startups that communicate internally in English, Ovni Capital will favor deep tech startups instead of platform plays, marketplaces or vertical software-as-a-service products. And the VC firm plans to support entrepreneurs by bringing experts to the board of directors.
Ovni Capital tried to raise money from successful entrepreneurs as much as possible. Overall, the firm managed to convince 50 French tech entrepreneurs to back the fund. If some of them want to get involved in an operational way, they can represent Ovni Capital on the boards of portfolio companies.
The firm plans to invest anything between €250,000 and €2 million in 30 different startups. In some cases, Ovni Capital will be able to invest in follow-on rounds up to €4 million. The first portolio company is Axeptio, a user consent management startup that recently raised €3.5 million from Isai, Evolem and Ovni Capital.