Meet the investor: Philippe Collombel & Jean-Marc Patouillaud, Partech Ventures

Fresh from raising a €400m warchest, the partners of the transatlantic VC firm behind Made.com and Brandwatch discuss what makes an 'ideal investment'

Firm: Partech Ventures
Name: Philippe Collombel & Jean-Marc Patouillaud, co-managing partners of Partech Ventures

Where are you based?

Partech Ventures was born in Silicon Valley more than 30 years ago. The team has grown to close to 50 professionals spread across offices in Paris, San Francisco and Berlin.

What kind of investor are you?

We invest from pre-seed to growth stages in tech verticals mainly in Europe and the US. Our mission is to empower extraordinary people to build great companies.

To achieve that, we bring together capital and resources, and a constant commitment to challenge and support them.

What kind of deals do you finance?

Investments across the Partech platform range from €200,000 in seed funding to €40m in growth funding. We meet all the financing needs of the best innovative start-ups, regardless of their development stage.

What kind of person do you invest in?

We invest in teams that are, as much as possible, the best teams at that moment in time for the business they have founded.

This means a mixture of tech savviness, business acumen, structure, drive, ambition, honesty, excellence. We seek out people with the right mindset — those that are always learning, and are ready to explore new frontiers.

How do you source prospects?

It is patient and organised serendipity! We are active participants in events, active users of tools and databases, and we receive a lot of inbound calls and emails.

But, more than anything else, we are proud to have assembled a very deep and diverse team, most being former entrepreneurs or tech executives with great networks for sourcing and business development.

We continuously strive to be a trusted and open partner for entrepreneurs, investors, large corporates, business angels, tech executives, experts, incubators, accelerators, labs and campuses, as well as other VCs. This network, initially transatlantic, and now growing in Africa and Asia, creates the most unique opportunities.

What is your ideal investment?

A company with a fantastic team, in a large and growing market, with a disruptive technology which does not compete with very strong current players.

What are your USPs?

We are a transatlantic VC, with €1bn raised in dry powder in the last 18 months. During the same period, we made 110 investments, which is probably one of the most active tech programmes in Europe.

We are agnostic and invest at all stages, in all industries – as long as there is tech and digital involved.

We have a team of 50 amazing people in Europe and the US, of which 12 partners, dedicated to entrepreneurs, including in-house teams helping companies on business development, growth structuring, legal, finance, etc.

What is quite unique is that we offer entrepreneurs an exclusive business development programme based on close to 30 partnerships we have built with multinational corporates from around the world.

What are the hot business sectors at the moment?

Our investments cover the entire scope of emerging technologies which are shaping the future of major industries, for both consumers and enterprises.

That includes, for instance, applications, software and cloud computing, tech-enabled services, artificial intelligence, consumer electronics, robots, components and hardware, manufacturing of the future, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, drones, mobility, data privacy and cybersecurity, and more.

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

  • Clear vision and answers
  • Complete industry knowledge
  • And, eventually, an appealing exit opportunity.

What is the cardinal sin when looking for investment?

Forgetting the crucial importance of the team, with which you will be working closely for years to come.

What continuing involvement do you like in an investment?

Providing support for growth (such as recruitment, marketing, KPIs, legal structuring, etc.) and finding sales leads that lead to new accounts.

What has been your best performing investment to date?

It would be difficult to pick one of the 130 great companies in our current portfolio, across 15 countries!

Let’s just mention:

  • Made.com, the online furniture and design brand
  • ManoMano, the leading DIY products and services marketplace in Europe
  • Lendix, a cross-border direct lending platform for businesses and the leader in continental Europe
  • Seabubbles, a flying taxi boat on foils
  • Giroptic, the world’s first live 360° camera
  • Brandwatch, the world leader in social media monitoring for global brands
  • Bugcrowd, the premier marketplace for cyber security testing
  • And Privitar, a privacy engineering software company with a unique value proposition for corporates…

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