Varsity is a new early stage venture capital fund based in Paris


It’s not every day that a new venture capital firm comes out of stealth. This time, University announces its first fund. Founded by a former Société Générale executive and two venture capitalists who worked at Serena Capital, Varsity has already raised €70 million ($75 million at current exchange rates) to support early-stage startups across multiple verticals.

This is only a first closing since Varsity hopes to be able to raise up to 150 million euros for Varsity I ($161 million). In total, the company plans to invest in around thirty startups in Europe. Among the sponsors of Varsity are the French public bank Bpifrance, MACSF, Sogecap and Elevation Capital Partners (with the creation of a feeder fund).

This means that Varsity plans to invest between €1 million and €5 million depending on the investment opportunity with the possibility of investing in follow-on investments – Varsity has already invested €15 million in five companies. While the team doesn’t have a specific vertical in mind, it says it plans to invest in finance, healthcare, enterprise software, and climate startups.

The three founding members are Didier Valet, former deputy general manager of Société Générale, as well as Kamel Zeroual and Florent Thomas who worked for some time at Serena Capital.

Florent Thomas (photo right) also created Talent letter in 2018. This is an e-newsletter for tech startups looking for potential hires. Every week, TalentLetter sends two profiles selected because they can have a strong impact in a growing startup. With Marie Brayerthey also created Karma Driven, an invitation-only job site.

As for Kamel Zeroual (photo on the left), he created the Startup Mafia podcast. He interviewed several executives working for a handful of successful tech startups. During the first season, he interviewed Swile executives. He focused on Alan and for seasons two and three.

Both of them already know quite a few people in the startup ecosystem. So it will be interesting to see how the Varsity team plans to leverage these platforms to identify interesting investment opportunities and ensure they perform well in later stages.


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