Brent Hoberman’s European seed fund Firstminute Capital raises £25m

With a focus on start-ups in the healthtech, robotic, fintech and AI sectors, Firstminute Capital will invest between $250,000 and $750,000 per round

Firstminute Capital, a pan-European seed fund for tech start-ups, has raised $25m in its latest funding round.

Backed by a whole host of high net worth individuals, investors include Chinese tech giant Tencent, BlaBlaCar co-founder Frederic Mazella and Sir Paul Ruddock, who is the chair of the Oxford University Endowment Fund.

Founded by founder Brent Hoberman and former Goldman Sachs analyst Spencer Crawley, the duo will use the latest injection of cash to invest in businesses in the healthtech, robotic, fintech and AI sectors.

Looking to invest between $250,000 and $750,000 per round, Firstminute Capital will form a partnership with Hoberman’s other ventures, which includes tech networking and events company Founders Forum and start-up incubator Founders Factory.

Previous investors include Alex Chesterman, co-founder of property website Zoopla, and venture capital firm Atomico, which was set up by Skype co-founder and former CEO Niklas Zennström.

Who is Brent Hoberman?

New for 2017, this year’s Startups Awards will feature The Founders Pledge Social Impact Award in association with Founders Pledge – an initiative established by Founders Forum for Good to bring about positive global change.

The Founders Pledge Social Impact Award recognises the inspiring businesses taking on social and economic challenges with effective and scalable solutions.

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To be eligible to enter the Startups Awards, a business must  be privately-owned and UK-based and have launched on or after 1 August 2013 and no later than 31 July 2016.

All businesses shortlisted will be put up for consideration by the public, who will vote to decide which business they think deserves be crowned with The Founders Pledge Social Impact Award.

Hoberman said:

“We believe that emerging European technology startups will continue to excite, and build on the momentum that has seen 47 unicorn companies built in Europe in the last 10 years.

“We hope to help the next generation of top entrepreneurs, both with our reach and by giving them credibility and support.

“We will invest not just in the UK, but across Europe. We aimed to raise $60m for our first fund, and are happy to have achieved that and closed oversubscribed at $85m, which we see as a strong signal for European technology.

“We believe the fund represents an unparalleled wealth of expertise to deliver on this promise.”

Niklas Zennström, partner and CEO at Atomico, said:

“Brent is a pioneer of technology entrepreneurship in Europe. For two decades he has done more than most to find, support and encourage Europe’s best founders.

“That’s why we were so pleased he became one of our Entrepreneur Partners last year and it’s why, when Brent told us about firstminute, we wanted to be his first investor.

“We share a firm belief in the future of Europe’s technology ecosystem so we’re excited to be part of this new fund as it backs Europe’s most promising early stage founders.”

Find out more about the judging process and how the Startups Awards winners are chosen here