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Amid a fairly flat European market, Giant Ventures raises $250M to invest transatlantically

Giant Ventures, a U.K.-based VC that has made a habit of investing on both sides of the Atlantic, is launching two new funds, totaling $250 million. Its previous fund totaled $100 million.

The firm invests across climate, health and what it calls "purpose-driven" startups and some used to call "impact" or "mission-driven."

Whatever the case, the raise consists of a new $100 million seed fund which will aim to back around 25 early-stage companies, while a $150 million climate-focused growth fund will aim at Series B companies. The firm says it’s made 10 investments so far from the two funds.

Prior to this, Giant had invested in mental health app Calm, carbon removal platform Agreena, British energy storage startup Field (which has raised $300 million) and health industry startup Doccla.

Part of Giant’s main “pitch” to startups, if you will, is that it is led by former founders and operators in a European ecosystem where 92% of European venture capitalists have never worked at a startup. The firm is led by Cameron McLain, an exited founder, and Tommy Stadlen, co-founder of Swing Technologies (acquired by Microsoft).

Admittedly that has begun to change in recent years with the appearance of new funds such as Plural, which is helmed by exited founders from Wise, Songkick and others. Plural recently raised a fresh €400 million fund.

Over a call, Stadlen told me: “Half of this capital is going into European companies, including the U.K., and then half of it is going into the U.S. companies. So we're fully transatlantic. We've got people in London, where the headquarters is, but also we have folks in Copenhagen, Stockholm, New York and California.”

Advisory board members include former BP CEO Lord Browne, former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and 23andme founder Linda Avey.

Giant’s LPs include BMW, Henkel, RIT Capital Partners, clients of Cambridge Associates, Stepstone, Denmark’s sovereign investment fund, The Nature Conservancy (U.S.) and Sir Richard Branson.

The news is not unwelcome in an environment where Britain has consistently ranked near the bottom of the G7 in recent years for all sources of private investment in the economy.

Although several U.K. VC’s signed up to a scheme to boost investment in startups last year, this will undoubtedly take a while to filter through the ecosystem.

VC in Europe has been hit by a weak economy, and has been mostly flat over the last two years. Startup investment slumped in 2023 to $45 billion.

Meanwhile, North American investors are retrenching, with Omers and Coatue downgrading their activity.