Finance & Economics

OpenseedVC Reaches First Close of $10m Fund for Early Stage Startups across Africa and Europe

Female-led OpenseedVC has reached the first close of its $10 million angel-style early-stage fund, hoping to reach the final close within a year.

OpenseedVC Reaches First Close of $10m Fund for Early Stage Startups across Africa and Europe

London-based OpenseedVC, an early-stage VC firm founded by the operator-turned-investor Maria Rotilu, has reached the first close of its $10 million fund, with fundraising still in progress.

Openseed VC aims to introduce an operator VC model in Africa and Europe. It focuses on experienced operators eager to launch their technology companies at the earliest stages of the startup foundation. The VC fund aims to provide such operators with not only capital but also the support of a community of over 50 seasoned operators.

“In the early stages, expertise in software engineering is crucial. You’d need someone who’s recruited technical talent, built teams and understands infrastructure design, offering invaluable firsthand experience. So if that’s the common thread, I would say firsthand experience is what we optimize for across software engineering, product, go-to-market and people and talent.”

Maria Rotilu, OpenseedVC Founder

Most of the individuals in OpenseedVC’s operator network were chosen by Rotilu based on previous successful cooperation on other business projects or good referrals. Some of those operators are also limited partners in the fund. Other LPs include founders and professionals from traditional and tech businesses as well as high-net-worth individuals across Africa, Europe, and the US.

Focusing on pre-seed startups, OpenseedVC operates an open application process. That means founders can apply without needing an introduction. At the same time, the fund is interested in specific founder profiles: domain experts (operators at high-growth tech companies, including first-time founders) and second-time founders who have built and exited a startup.

The fund aims to assist at least 60 startups over the next five years with checks of up to $150,000. The main focus is on startups in the commerce (including B2B software, AI, and fintech) sector, those promoting the future of work (productivity), and digital health.

At present, the early-stage fund has made two investments. One is U.K.-based AI-enabled supplier dispute resolution software Stealth and another is Intron, a speech-to-text transcription model for underserved accents, starting with African ones.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.