Founded by three friends in 2012, La Famiglia has quickly become one of Europe’s most respected venture capital funds. The newly-raised €250 million will be put to use over the next five years investing in early-stage companies across a range of industries, with a particular emphasis on digital services and internet companies. The fund is already well on its way to hitting its target, having invested in such businesses as Textio (a bilingual text transcription startup), Olo (an online food delivery service) and CrowdFlower (a platform that helps businesses find and hire talented remote professionals). In addition to its own investments, La Famiglia also co-investments with other VC firms, giving it even more firepower when it comes time to make an impact.
The fund’s vertical focus on technology areas such as ML and AI, data, logistics, and supply chains is evidenced by the fact that it has invested in companies such as Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). In addition to investing in these well-known companies, the fund also focuses on newer technology areas such as “Industry 4.0” and sustainability.
The firm is known for its stringent selection and vetting process for startups, which has resulted in some of the most well-known startups in the space being included in its portfolio. In addition to being invested in some of the most promising startups across a variety of industries, Davide Simionato and his team also frequently participate as advisors to these companies.
The fund is designed to invest in startups that focus on business to business (B2B) transactions. These companies could include those that provide technology or services to other businesses, or those that manage resources or products for other businesses.
Ethon.ai is a technology startup that provides a quality management platform to businesses. The company has joined as an LP with backing from entrepreneurs such as Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), Ross Mason (Mulesoft), and portfolio founders Qasar Younis (Applied Intuition), Hanno Renner (Personio), and Michael Wax (Forto). This addition of talent and experience brings considerable strength to the Ethon.ai team, which is focused on helping businesses improve their quality processes and create better products.
Whereas a number of other VC firms may shy away from investing in family-owned businesses, La Famiglia appears to be well-aware of the unique advantages that this type of ownership brings. For starters, they understand the importance of staying close to their clients and employees; Krohne Messtechnik is one of La Famiglia’s most successful investments to date. Secondly, Fürstenberg herself is a highly experienced tech entrepreneur, which meant that she was able to provide strong guidance and oversight for La Famiglia’s other ventures. Overall, these factors seem to have led La Famiglia to be one of the most successful venture capital firms in Europe today.
Part of what makes the Fürstenberg team successful is their ability to capitalize on opportunities. Following the success of their fund raisers, Fürstenberg was able to maintain strong performance levels for all three of their funds. With a good track record and a recent success in raising money, Fürstenberg undoubtedly achieved a lot through hard work and luck when it came to fund raising.
Having experience in both technology and marketing, Judith Dada is a key member of this team. She has worked extensively on both sides of the equation, so she is well- equipped to help Facebook grow its business. Additionally, the team’s co-leadership will give it a strong focus and continue to ensure that Facebook remains a top contender in the tech industry.
Given the current macro-economic environment, many would say that it is difficult for fundraising to go well for tech firms. However, Dada Funds sees these problems less harshly than most, as they are investing in B2B technology companies. Whether this strategy works or not remains to be seen, but for now Dada seems to be doing alright regardless.
In spite of Brexit, international investors continue to look towards Europe as a solid place to invest. large, established companies with a strong track record of growth will still be found in Europe. Siemens, Mersk, and other major companies are expected to remain strong despite the Brexit vote. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the EU still exists, but investors appear to be more focused on the bigger picture and what these businesses actually do than on politics.
Today, Fürstenberg thinks that the market has bottomed out and is beginning to recover. He believes that this is good news for startups as more great talent will start flowing back into the market. Additionally, he feels that there has been an increase in quality deals being made as signals to noise ratio have improved and founders’ quality has also gone up. Overall, he sees a positive future for startups in 2018.
Since joining La Famiglia in early 2018, the senior investment team has seen positive strides made towards increasing diversity. This has been achieved through dedicated and ongoing efforts to ensure that a greater percentage of team members are women (50%) and individuals from migrant backgrounds (30%).
Carsten Thoma, founder and enterprise expert at Hybris, joins La Famiglia as an advisor. As a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Carsten will provide valuable insights on how to grow businesses within the SAP Hybris ecosystem.