Meet Singular, a new VC firm based in Paris that just finished raising its initial fund. The firm was founded by two former Alven partners Raffi Kamber and Jérémy Uzan. They have some ambitious goals and an interesting investment model that could help them remain involved even during late-stage rounds. Overall, the firm raised $265 million at today’s exchange rate.
If you browse Singular’s website, you’re not going to find a lot of information. Here’s what it looked like last week before the team added a list of portolio companies:
The Singular team doesn’t want to be secretive. But they don’t like talking about themselves. That’s why you may have seen Singular’s name in a few articles I wrote over the past few months. But now it’s time to talk a bit about what the firm has in mind when it comes to startup investment.
Jérémy Uzan and Raffi Kamber spent 11 and 8 years at Alven. They’ve been behind some of the firm’s most successful investments, such as Dataiku and OpenClassrooms. “But every time you raise another fund, you sign up for a long time,” Uzan told me.
The duo left Alven quite naturally as they felt it was time in their careers to take their destiny in their own hands. There’s no hard feeling with their previous fund.
It was the right timing personally but also the right timing for the tech ecosystem. While Singular is based in Paris, the firm plans to build a true European VC firm with its headquarters in Paris. Singular doesn’t think London should be the center of gravity for European tech investment.
Singular started fundraising in late 2019 and early 2020. Kamber and Uzan didn’t know anything about raising a fund and didn’t work with an external financial firm to handle the fundraising effort.
When asked about the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on the process, they both said that the lockdown actually helped as everyone was stuck at home. Around two-thirds of the limited partners that invested in Singular are based outside of France.
“These are historic VC investors. They really believe in tech and Europe too. They have seen that Europe has been taking off for the past two or three years,” Kamber told me.
Just like a startup, Singular wanted to be backed by some well-known investors. And some of those investors are injecting money in a French VC fund for the first time. Limited partners include a mix of pension funds, funds of funds, sovereign funds and family offices.