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Blossom Capital launches $5M angel program to invest in 20 European startups

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Yessi Bello Perez
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Yessi Bello Perez

Senior Writer, Growth QuartersYessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters. Yessi leads the writing efforts at TNW’s Growth Quarters.

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Blossom Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund, is launching a €4.6 million ($5 million) angel program targeting European technology startups.

Cultivate will bring together 30 angels investors — including Des Traynor (Intercom), Guillaume Pousaz (Checkout.com), Nilan Peiris (Transferwise), and Shakil Khan (Spotify) — and look to make 20 investments of  €230,000 ($250,000) per startup over the next 12 months.

The network will be sector agnostic but will focus on seed and pre-seed startups.

[Read: How to stay in business during coronavirus: Lessons from running a remote-first company]

Ophelia Brown, the founder of Blossom Capital, said in a press release: “Europe’s tech ecosystem continues to thrive and is home to some of the greatest, most ambitious, most courageous founders in the world.”

“We set up Cultivate with the aim of giving these founders as much access to capital and experience in Europe as they need to scale. Our ambition is to democratize this access and continue to help tech founders punch well above their weight on a global scale,” she continued.

Aside from the capital, founders will get access to angel members who will be on hand to provide insight and advice.

Timing is key

Cultivate’s launch couldn’t come at a better time. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has raised several questions about businessesfuture and the viability of venture capital investing in the era of government-led lockdowns.

Just last month, technology investors warned that the number of investments into UK startups could fall as a result of travel restrictions and the instability of financial markets.

Although funds like Blossom are getting creative and accepting pitches over videoconferencing, it’s fair to say startups, particularly those in the early-stages, need all the help they can get — especially given reports the coronavirus pandemic is shedding a light on some VCs’ true colors.

“Even in these uncertain times, there are visionaries in Europe doing groundbreaking, fundamental work and this is not the time to be scaling back on innovation. Some of the best ideas and opportunities come in times of crisis and dislocation,” Brown said in the release.

“The pioneers who can rise up in the face of adversity and lead others in a common ambitious mission, will be the ones who win long term. Now, more than ever, is the time when such founders should be encouraged to take risks,” she concluded.

Inside Blossom

Blossom Capital made headlines earlier this year when it announced the closure of a €170 million ($185 millionfund.

The fund, based in London, typically backs series A rounds and has to date invested in several well-known startups including Fat Llama and Checkout.com.

Speaking to Growth Quarters last month, Brown, who previously worked at Index Ventures and LocalGlobe, spoke about some of the biggest misconceptions founders have about venture capital investors.

“I think founders too quickly forget that they are the customer. Raising capital is not just about financing, it’s much more important to choose the right partner,” she said.

Founders who wish to apply for the Cultivate program can submit their application online here.

Published April 7, 2020 — 05:00 UTC