French VC firm Frst reaches $80 million initial close for its new startup fund

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By Webdesk

Frst, the Paris-based VC firm with no vowel in its name, is raising its second fund. The company has already reached an initial closing of €72 million (almost $80 million at the current exchange rate).

And if there’s one thing to say about this new fund, it’s that it’s business as usual for Frst. As the name suggests, Frst aims to be the first VC firm to invest in a tech startup.

In fact, First tells me that about half of the VC firm’s term sheets are sent before the startups are founded. The company has decided to keep the exact same formula with some fresh capital to invest in the coming years.

The team led by Pierre Entremont and Bruno Raillard originally met when they worked for Otium Venture as part of Pierre-Edouard Stérin’s family office. In 2019, the team founded its own venture capital firm and raised the first initial fund (named first 2). At the time, Frst raised €90 million (almost $100 million at the current exchange rate).

With today’s new fund, called Frst 3, the investment firm expects to reach the upper limit of €100 million ($110 million). Frst has already secured funding from the European Investment Fund, Bpifrance’s Fonds National d’Amorçage 2, Axa Venture Partners and Isomer. Some individual investors also invest in the fund itself, such as entrepreneurs working for Payfit, Owkin, Shippeo, Pigment, Electra, Supercell, Wolt, Aiven and Homa Games.

Although Frst does not focus on one specific industry, the company believes that there will be plenty of interesting investment opportunities in the coming years due to the rise of artificial intelligence.

“The rapid developments observed in recent months in the field of artificial intelligence and the disruptions they cause provide an extremely favorable context for startups. From work to medicine, defence, education or natural resource management, the economy and society as a whole are preparing for unprecedented changes,” Pierre Entremont said in a statement.

All in all, if you include Otium Venture’s original $44 million fund, First’s team has managed or advised over $200 million in assets ($219 million). With this stat, Frst says it is now the largest startup fund specifically targeting French startups.

“France is particularly well positioned to play a leading role in this emerging revolution, particularly because of its production of top technical talent. That is why artificial intelligence has always been a very present theme in our investments, with for example Owkin or Doctrine 7 years ago. We have also already made several investments with Frst 3 in teams with remarkable technical quality,” Bruno Raillard said in a statement.

Frst’s team has invested in dozens of startups, such as Pigment, Electra, Poolside, Doctrine, Payfit, Shippeo, and Owkin. With its new fund, it plans to invest between €1 million and €3 million in around 30 companies.

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