French VC firm Frst reaches $80 million first close for its new seed fund

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Frst, the Paris-based VC firm with no vowel in its name, is in the process of raising its second fund. The firm has already reached a first closing of €72 million (nearly $80 million at today’s exchange rate).

And if there’s one thing to say about this new fund is that it’s business as usual for Frst. As the name suggests, Frst aims to be the first VC firm to invest in a tech startup.

Frst even tells me that around half of the VC firm’s term sheets are sent before the startups are incorporated. The firm has decided to keep the exact same formula with some fresh capital to invest over the next few years.

The team led by Pierre Entremont and Bruno Raillard originally met when they were working for Otium Venture as part of Pierre-Edouard Stérin’s family office. In 2019, the team created its own VC firm and raised the initial Frst fund (called Frst 2). At the time, Frst raised €90 million (nearly $100 million at today’s exchange rate).

With today’s new fund called Frst 3, the investment firm expects to reach the upper limit of €100 million ($110 million). Frst has already secured funding from the European Investment Fund, Bpifrance’s Fonds National d’Amorçage 2, Axa Venture Partners and Isomer. Several 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 one vertical in particular, the firm believes that there will be plenty of interesting investment opportunities in the coming years due to the rise of artificial intelligence.

“The rapid developments observed in the field of Artificial Intelligence over the past few months and the disruptions they are creating make an extremely favorable context for startups. From work to medicine, defense, education, or natural resource management, the economy and society as a whole are preparing to undergo unprecedented changes,” Pierre Entremont said in a statement.

Overall, if you include Otium Venture’s original €44 million fund, the Frst team has more than €200 million of assets managed or advised ($219 million). With this metric, Frst says that it is now the largest seed fund focused on French startups specifically.

“France is particularly well positioned to play a leading role in this upcoming revolution, notably due to its production of top technical talent. This is why Artificial Intelligence has always been a very present theme in our investments, with, for instance, Owkin or Doctrine 7 years ago. We have also already made several investments with Frst 3 in teams with remarkable 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. With its new fund, it plans to invest between €1 million and €3 million in around 30 companies.

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