Founders of Wise and Skype Raise $436 Million to Build Tech Giants in Europe

Plural Fund II, backed by the founders of Wise, Skype, and Songkick, secures 400 million euros ($436.4 million) to support European technology startups, focusing on deep tech and sustainability.

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Plural Fund II, a venture capital firm co-founded by entrepreneurs behind Wise, Skype, and Songkick, has successfully raised 400 million euros ($436.4 million) for its second fund. The fund, launched just 18 months after the previous one, aims to back technology startups in Europe and compete with established funds like Atomico, Balderton Capital, and Creandum. Plural Fund II emphasizes a founder-led focus and a commitment to sustainability.

The co-founders of Plural Fund II include Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of fintech firm Wise; Ian Hogarth, co-founder of concert discovery service Songkick; Sten Tamkivi, co-founder of communications platform Skype; and Khaled Helioui, former CEO of Bigpoint Games.

Plural Fund II distinguishes itself by being led by entrepreneurs with the “scar tissue” of proven business experience. Only 8% of venture capitalists (VCs) in Europe are former founders, in contrast to the United States, where the figure is around 60%. According to Hinrikus, this founder-centric approach allows Plural to be a more effective partner for startups, offering insights and understanding gained from direct entrepreneurial experience.

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Hinrikus highlighted the significance of having VCs who have practical experience with startup life, stating, “If we look at a lot of VC funds, you have lots of people who have done great work with spreadsheets, not with startup life.” Plural Fund II considers being “totally unemployable” as a core criterion for choosing partners.

Plural Fund II plans to invest at a pace of two to three investments per investor per year, focusing on deep tech and sustainability. The firm, which describes its partners as the “unemployables,” has made 27 investments to date in sectors such as AI (31%), frontier technology (16%), and climate and energy (14%). Some notable investments include Robin AI, Proxima Fusion, and Sano Genetics.

The new fund, backed by limited partners such as British and American university endowments, U.S. foundations, insurers, and strategic family offices in Europe and the United States, exceeded its fundraising target despite challenging market conditions. Plural Fund II aims to identify and support emerging technology giants in Europe, particularly in categories often overlooked by other funds, such as deep tech and clean tech.

Carina Namih, partner at Plural, emphasized the recognition from sophisticated investors, stating, “Some of the most sophisticated investors in the world are really recognizing the opportunity in Europe, and really want to see a fund the shape of Plural.”

The fund’s launch aligns with the growing startup activity in Europe, with a focus on fostering an ecosystem that supports innovation and entrepreneurship. Plural Fund II aims to contribute to the emergence of major technology names in Europe, competing with established giants from the United States and China.

Namih highlighted the accelerated pace of technological breakthroughs, driven by advancements in AI and increased access to capital. She expressed optimism about the potential for new and emerging players to dominate entirely new spaces, leveraging shorter timelines for technology milestones.

Plural Fund II’s approach and successful fundraising reflect the evolving dynamics of the European startup ecosystem, with a surge in startup creation and a shift toward a more supportive and interconnected environment.