Astanor Ventures has closed its debut venture capital fund on its hard-cap of $325m.
The fund had an initial target of $150m and held its first close in Q4 2019, with an interim close in Q2 2020.
Founders Eric Archambeau and George Coelho launched Balderton Capital in Europe and have held positions at Wellington Partners and Benchmark Capital, respectively.
"We've previously worked at venture firms so we used our contact base," Archambeau said. "Although it was a debut fund, it was not too difficult to fundraise."
Archambeau said that, while Covid-19 slowed down the final close by three to four months, the firm got more interest from LPs who had previously been marginally interested: "Several LPs increased allocations because Covid-19 made healthy food, and health and environmental consciousness, more important than ever."
The fund is domiciled in Luxembourg as an SCSP.
Van Campen Liem provided legal advice.
The fund has 12 institutional investors, with a number of smaller commitments from entrepreneurs. "Our private investors are from industries highly relevant to what we do," said Archambeau, "but the bulk of the money comes from institutional investors."
One family office from Asia has invested in the fund, but the majority hail from Europe with some based in the US. Six sovereign wealth funds from around Europe are invested. The minimum commitment size was $5m.
Morgan Stanley Investment Management AIP Private Markets is an LP in the fund.
Astanor I will invest in North America and Europe, across multiple stages of company development. Typical equity cheques will range from €1m for early-stage investments, ranging up to €20-25m, with scope to expand total investment through co-investment opportunities.
When discussing expected holding periods, Archambeau said "we think of ourselves as patient investors. We're looking to make an impact and systemic impact doesn't happen overnight."
The fund has made 12 investments, half of which are early-stage, with about a third of committed capital deployed.
On the firm's pipeline, Archambeau said: "There are lots of very exciting companies with a dominant theme of using deep tech, AI and machine learning to help nature rather than replace nature. We should be making some investments before the end of 2020."
Portfolio companies include France-based insect farming company Ϋnsect, in which Astanor is the lead investor; Infarm, the Berlin-based on-demand vertical farming company; La Ruche Qui Dit Oui, a France-based food supplier; and Notpla, a UK-based sustainable packaging company.
Astanor Ventures – Eric Archambeau, George Coelho (founders).
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