Plural, a new investment platform started by the founders and backers of Europe’s most significant tech companies, has been unveiled today, along with a €250m early stage venture fund to back the next generation of founders with global ambitions.
Set up by Ian Hogarth, Khaled Heloui, Sten Tamkivi and Taavet Hinrikus – with other recognised founders who will announce themselves soon – Plural is a scalable investment platform whose investors are exclusively former founders and operators with decades of company building experience.
They founded Plural because across Europe they saw that the vast majority of investors lacked experience of building tech businesses. In Europe just 8% of investors are former operators, in contrast to more than half of tech investors in the US. Plural’s founders believe that the scar tissue from building tech companies is invaluable in helping the next generation of founders to build companies with global potential.
Plural’s intention is to be a more hands-on investor, with a focus on leading early stage rounds between €1 and €10m.
Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, said: “We’re the investors we would have liked to have when we were building our own companies. Founding a company is a craft and the best way to learn that craft is to work alongside those who have done it before.”
Ian Hogarth said: ‘We call experienced founders ‘unemployables’, because once you’ve experienced the intense authorship that comes with creating something new it’s hard to work for anyone again. We created Plural to give unemployables a place to call home and put their entrepreneurial energy behind missions and founders they deeply believe in.”
Khaled Helioui said: “So much opportunity is left untapped today as exceptional founders often fail to meet standard investors’ pattern recognition criteria. Sadly investors lack the risk appetite needed to fulfill founders’ ambitions and consequently the full impact founders seek can not be realised. By changing the funding mechanisms that act as conservative gatekeepers today we can unlock so much potential.”
Sten Tamkivi said: “We are huge optimists for the potential of technology coming from Europe which can benefit the whole world, as well as improve the lives of people across the continent. We’ve already seen the real impact a well-funded startup scene can have on economies in small countries like Estonia — now it is time to scale this GDP level impact across the whole of Europe.”
Between them Taavet, Sten, Ian and Khaled have founded four startups – Wise, Songkick, Teleport and Certific – and played a significant role in building three companies, including Skype, Bigpoint and Topia. All four operators turned investors have also been angel investing for years, with significant success. Companies in their portfolio include Deliveroo, Hopin, Pipedrive, Chorus, Uber, Zego and Bolt. As Plural, they have already invested in 14 companies including Feather, NFTport an NFT infrastructure company, energy storage company Field, metaverse company Ready Player Me and student banking challenger MOS.