Meet the investor: Matthieu Baret, Idinvest Partners

Partner of the European investment firm with over €7bn under management, Baret backs "ambitious entrepreneurs hoping to change the world"

Firm: Idinvest Partners
Name: Matthieu Baret

Where are you based?

Idinvest is headquartered in Paris but invests in businesses all over Europe. We also have offices in Frankfurt and Shanghai and are about to open a branch in Madrid.

What kind of investor are you?

Idinvest is a lead and active investor in European start-ups mainly at the Series A or Series B stage.

Our flagship fund is our digital fund that invests in consumer internet, software and technology, but we also have funds dedicated to healthcare and clean technologies. We‘ve also recently reached final close on a growth fund. Our Venture Capital and Growth Equity practice currently has over €1.5bn under management.

What kind of person do you invest in?

We like ambitious entrepreneurs that are hoping to change the world. We like hard-workers with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to listen!

Having been a VC for 20 years, we have backed many entrepreneurs and now serial entrepreneurs. In fact, over half of our investments are managed by serial entrepreneurs such as Jean-Baptiste Rudelle of Criteo, Betran Diard of Talend, Eric Carreel of Withings and JérômeLecat of Scality.

How do you source prospects?

When looking at our deal flow, 60% of our sourcing is proprietary; mainly through our well established network of CEOs and entrepreneurs. The other 25% comes from corporate finance boutiques, conferences and our wider contact base and the final 15%  is cold calls direct from CEOs.

What is your ideal investment?

There is no ideal investment: all investments have different stories, growth and exits. The ones we enjoy the most are probably those where we have built a strong relationship and trust with the entrepreneur.

What are your USPs?

Idinvest has been active in venture for 20 years. Our unique expertise centers on our ability to help our European portfolio companies grow fast and expand internationally.

We’ve brought four European companies to Nasdaq. We organise events and gatherings among our entrepreneurs to cross fertilize experience.

We have strong relationships with large corporates that invest in our funds to help accelerate the growth of our startups, including Cisco, EDF, Total and Michelin.

What are the hot sectors?

Besides financial technology (fintech)/insurance technology (insurtech) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that maintain their reputation as hot sectors, we are starting to see more hardware and deep tech opportunities in security, industrial robotics, and the Internet of Things. However, we’re more cautious about pure mobile business models.

Three things a company should be able to offer an investor?

Strategic vision, capability to execute on this vision, and great returns!

What continuing involvement do you like in an investment?

We generally take board seats. When backing experienced entrepreneurs, they don’t need us on a day to day basis but they can count on us in all kind of situations.

We are known for being long term, steady investors. With younger entrepreneurs, we will spend more time on hand to help them to define their model, recruit and/or fundraise.

What has been your best performing investment to date?

There are many companies we have been proud in the last 20 years, but two spring to mind.

Talend has this year become our fourth company to achieve a Nasdaq IPO, whilst Criteo is by far our most successful investment to date. Idinvest led the seed financing in 2006 and in October 2013 Criteo went public at a $1.3bn valuation.

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