DN Capital, Early Backer of Auto1, Shazam and OLX, Launches New $350m Fund to Shape Post-pandemic World
DN Capital, one of Europe’s most established Venture Capital firms, today announces the launch of its latest $350m (£220m, €300m) fund. In a year which has already seen four of the DN Capital portfolio reach billion dollar-plus valuations, the firm’s Fund V will back the most ambitious early stage entrepreneurs across Europe, the UK and the US, who are creating businesses built on the pandemic-accelerated surge in digital adoption, and developing technologies critical to the global recovery.
Under the leadership of private equity and VC stalwarts Nenad Marovac and Steve Schlenker - who head up a senior team with a combined 100 years-plus of investment experience - DN’s predominantly young and ambitious team has a consistent track record of partnering with some of Europe’s most promising startups, long before they became market leaders.
‘Think Big and Global”
Known for their ‘Think Big and Global’ approach to startup investing, the firm was one of Shazam’s earliest backers in 2004, and helped guide the London-born app through to Apple’s acquisition in 2018. DN Capital led the Series A round in Auto1, which floated on the German Stock Exchange earlier this year at a valuation over $10 billion and over 150x their entry price per share. Just recently in July 2021 the online eyewear retailer MrSpex also saw a strong IPO debut, valuing the company at over $1.0bn. DN Capital’s first billion dollar exit was Endeca which was sold to Oracle for $1.1bn in 2011. In its current portfolio US remittance business Remitly, digital staffing company Jobandtalent and the online education company GoStudent are amongst the latest unicorns and have recently closed billion-dollar financing rounds.
Fund V, which was substantially oversubscribed, will double-down on DN Capital’s strategy of finding and supporting the next generation of global category leaders specifically in its core fields of software, fintech, marketplaces and the consumer internet. Roughly two thirds of the firm’s investments have been made in Europe, through its London and Berlin hubs, with the remainder originating in its Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park.
For the journey
With a proven ability to identify founders with unicorn potential at the earliest stages, a worldwide advisor network, a deep 20-year track record, and a reputation for insightful business model understanding, DN Capital has established itself as a persistent outlier in European and US venture capital. It has proven to give founders the best possible platform for their scale-up journey, while being able to introduce its portfolio teams to top tier growth-stage investors.
“We’ve always preferred to let our founders and their incredible numbers talk for us,” says Nenad Marovac DN Capital’s founder. “When we say we only partner with the best, we mean it. We spend vast amounts of time with entrepreneurs understanding the market, their team, their product and to get to the heart of what they’re trying to achieve, long before we even talk about money. Then we work together with the entrepreneurs as partners to help them where they need it.
“The launch of our fifth fund gives us further scope to uncover new entrepreneurs with the biggest, brightest global ambitions. We pride ourselves on the fact that we work as hard as founders do to help them build their businesses, and this is something that’s going to be even more crucial as we, as a society, look to come back stronger following the pandemic,” he says.
DN Capital co-founder and managing partner Steve Schlenker believes the full impact of the pandemic on society, work, and behaviours is only just being understood, and that—when it happens--the recovery around the world will be powered by innovation and technology. “There are tech founders across the globe right now on critical missions to accelerate this recovery and help address the needs, and solve the biggest problems, of the post-COVID world,” he says. “At DN Capital we are committed to supporting them to achieve these goals.”
Partner Thomas Rubens adds: “We have backed numerous category defining businesses and we know what it takes to scale global companies. We have the youth and ambition in our team, as well as the huge global network, to be right at the cutting-edge of the next important trends. Especially those trends born out of the drastic, era-defining change we are witnessing today.”
“From the very start of our journey, Nenad, who was on our Board throughout, and the wider DN Capital team, supported us not just with strategic advice but helped us launch in the US, hire senior executives—including myself—and also introduced Apple,” says Andrew Fisher, Shazam’s former CEO and executive chairman. “The founder-investor relationship can be make-or-break for early stage entrepreneurs.”
Hakan Koc, co-founder and CEO at Auto1, said: ““ Since DN led the Series A in Auto1 we always enjoyed working with Nenad, Steve and the team. From the outset they saw the potential in us and Auto1 Group and understood how best to support us.”
Felix Ohswald, co-founder and CEO of GoStudent, said: “Expanding into 18 markets in just over two years is never easy but with DN Capital on our side we knew we could do it and in forging the connection with our next investors - DST, Softbank and Tencent - they helped us to take that next big leap.”
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