London-based entrepreneur Frederic Court has raised a $120 million fund for new European startups, the latest in a wave of venture financing for European technology companies.
The fund’s backers include the European Investment Fund, an EU-funded program that supports entrepreneurship in Europe through investment and development.
Other backers include Facebookexecutives David Marcus and Julien Codorniou, who will also act as advisors, Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever , the owners of the Galeries Lafayette in France, and Xavier Niel, founder of French telecommunications operator Iliad.
Mr. Court’s fund, named Felix Capital, will look for opportunities in fashion, luxury, beauty and well-being, segments where Europe has a very strong heritage and lots of talent, he said. “Europeans have a tradition of living well,” he said. Felix has already made several investments in online fashion companies.
The arrival of Felix is the latest in a recent uptick in European venture capital news.
This week, the U.K.’s Business Growth Fund, a fund backed by five major U.K. banks, said it created a £200 million ($307 million) fund led by former Balderton Capital principal Harry Briggs, former MMC Ventures partner Rory Stirling and former Lovefilm CEO Simon Calver.
Last September, a group of investors created London-based Mosaic Ventures, a $140 million fund that has invested in companies such as Blockchain.
Mr. Court said he raised the money in around six months and that the fund was oversubscribed.
“When we started, people said we would not succeed in raising money in Europe,” he said. “Generally, venture in Europe has been unsuccessful as an asset class, so a lot of investors have pulled out.”
Indeed, some of Europe’s best-known venture-funded tech firms have at least one U.S. headquartered investor, including big names like Delivery Hero, Spotify, Wonga and Truphone, according to Dow Jones Venture Source.
“There is money in Europe, but it’s true that it’s risk averse,” Mr. Court said. “There are very few limited partners in Europe who have the conviction to take risks and to back new teams or even venture capital.”