February 21, 2024

firstThe Paris-based venture capital firm, which does not have a vowel in its name, is raising a second fund. The company’s first round of funding has reached 72 million euros (nearly $80 million at today’s exchange rates).

If there’s one thing to say about this new fund, it’s that business is business as usual for First. As its name suggests, Frst aims to be the first venture capital firm to invest in tech startups.

Foster even told me that about half of the term sheets from VC firms are sent before the start-up is established. The company decided to keep the exact same model for the next few years and provide some fresh capital to invest.

The team led by Pierre Entremont and Bruno Raillard first met while working at Otium Venture in the Pierre-Edouard Stérin family office. In 2019, the team created its own venture capital firm and raised the initial Frst fund (called Frst 2). At the time, Frst had raised €90 million (nearly $100 million at today’s exchange rates).

With the new fund, called Frst 3 today, the investment firm expects to hit the €100 million ($110 million) ceiling. Frst has received financing from the European Investment Fund, Bpifrance’s Fonds National d’Amorçage 2, Axa Venture Partners and Isomer. Some individual investors are also investing in the fund itself, such as entrepreneurs working for Payfit, Owkin, Shippeo, Pigment, Electra, Supercell, Wolt, Aiven and Homa Games.

While Frst doesn’t focus on a particular vertical, the firm believes there will be plenty of interesting investment opportunities in the coming years thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence.

“The rapid developments in the field of artificial intelligence and the disruption it brings over the past few months have created an extremely favorable environment for start-ups. From jobs to medicine, defence, education or natural resource management, entire economies and societies are preparing to undergo unprecedented change ,” Pierre Entremont said in a statement.

Overall, when including Otium Venture’s initial €44 million fund, Frst’s team manages or advises assets in excess of €200 million ($219 million). By that metric, it is now the largest seed fund dedicated to French start-ups, Forster said.

“France is particularly well-positioned to play a leading role in this coming revolution, mainly because it produces top tech talent. That’s why artificial intelligence has been a very real theme in our investments, for example7 Owkin or Doctrine years ago. We have also made multiple investments in Frst 3, investing in a team of exceptional technical quality,” Bruno Raillard said in a statement.

The Frst team has invested in dozens of startups such as Pigment, Electra, Poolside, Doctrine, Payfit, Shippeo, and Owkin. It plans to invest between 1 million and 3 million euros in about 30 companies through the new fund.