Why Now can be found here.
I’ve recently started a new job and a new mission, and today I’m excited to share more information about both.
Without further ado, here comes the job news: I’ve joined Gaia Capital Partners as a General Partner! Read on to find out why I’ve decided 1) to become an investor and 2) to join Gaia Capital Partners.
So, why have I decided to become an investor?
I have worked as an operator, founder and advisor, as well as late & early-stage investor in the US and Europe for most of my working life.
In spring 2019, I decided to travel the world solo for more than 18 months. I wanted to learn and to grow outside of work and my friendships so that I could broaden my horizons and explore the world and all that it has to offer. This time spent traveling allowed me to listen to my heart and helped me to prepare for this next step.
I found that, above all, I wanted to find a purpose in what I was doing. And I recognized that I needed an environment of assurance, backup and support.
Everything I do is based on trust and my success comes from succeeding as part of a team. I am driven by trust, loyalty and integrity. Belief is what keeps me going, love yields me courage and I try to be kind and brave while doing good. For all of these things, I need conviction, trust and utter faith in my team.
As a founder and operator, I, along with my co-founders and team members, went through some challenging times — every stage has its own difficulties as every founder well knows. I sacrificed a lot and it wasn’t easy at times but I learned to embrace the pain and the struggle. The result is that I have become resilient, persistent and patient when it comes to fulfilling a vision and I know what makes a team successful.
Having experienced the trials and tribulations of life as a founder, there is no greater honor than having the chance to work with entrepreneurs as an investor and supporting them on their own missions. If I can offer anything, it is my empathy, my understanding and my willingness to be a trusted thought partner.
I hope I can continue to identify outstanding talent and find the underdogs, the grinders, the learn-it-alls, the ones who get shit done, and the ones with chips on their shoulders that push them to succeed. Most of all, I look forward to working with those who will make me a better human being, and who I can learn from and share my knowledge with.
At the same time, I realized that I wanted to become an investor for a company that lived by my values and strived to do things differently — Gaia Capital Partners is that company. Here’s why…
I have known founder Elina Berrebi for many years. We were first introduced to each other at Slush by my former co-worker from Axel Springer, Zoe Fabian. We became friends and when raising the $50M Series D for SmartRecruiters, Jerome Ternynck and I went to Paris to meet Gaia Capital Partners, as they were a potential investor.
During these meetings, I started to realize that we shared the same values and had a similar mindset on what needed to be done. And, while we share many of the same values we are also diverse and complementary. At Gaia Capital Partners, we are young and willing to move mountains just like the founders we back.
So, I decided to work for them. Of course, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, we all wanted to make sure we made the right decision, so it took around 25 calls to get to know each other properly, for me to meet the team and to find out about their cases. It was all worth it, though!
Founders Alice and Elina are truly one of a kind. They are both ex-engineers, lieutenants of the reserve, with 10 years worth of experience in the world of private equity and an impressive track record (before their entrepreneurial journey they invested in Farfetch, Chewy, Oatly, PeopleDoc, and more).
For me, Gaia Capital Partners represents a chance to invest differently.
We believe in Europe. To us, France and Germany are key engines of Europe, and we want to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
We want to make the world a better place with a strong ESG focus while investing and when working with our portfolio companies.
We have operating partners in Toronto and New York and are currently a team of 14. We have specialists in data and communications in service of our portfolio companies.
While we have deep financial experience, I hope to bring my knowledge in Marketing, Sales, Success — all GTM — internationalization, brand, strategy to the team.
We can help founders with their equity story. We can further help with M&A, consolidations, going to the US, finding board members and recruiting the best talent
Together with our partner and investor, Sycomore Asset Management, which has €7 billion under management, a team of 65 people and has invested heavily in companies that are committed to ESG activities, we bring Pre-IPO, IPO and public market experience and go beyond what is expected of us to support the companies we invest in as best we can.
Our target is to raise €200M, of which the vast majority is already secured with a final closing in the next few months. Here are some of the investments that Gaia Capital Partners has participated in to date:
- We have made three investments in international companies alongside other tier 1 tech investors in the past 6 months:
- €60m series C — Aircall — phone system software, alongside Balderton, Draper, DTCP, Adams Street
- $40m series B — gohenry a financial education app and debit card for children and teenagers, alongside Edison Partners, Citi Ventures, and Muse Capital
- €40m series C — Yubo — a social mobile app for Gen Z, alongside Alven, Iris, Idinvest, and Sweet Capital
- Our first investment was €20m series B in Welcome to the Jungle — a talent recruitment, engagement, and training software alongside XAnge and Bpifrance.
Let me end by sharing this email I sent to my colleague Morgan, when he wrote to me about how excited he was to have me on the team:
“Thank you so much for your kind words — it means a lot to me! I feel honored to have this opportunity and to gain your trust. I had to make a decision and likewise, I followed my heart. I felt strong honesty, courage, and integrity within the team and true appreciation for the person I am — this is what I needed to know to choose, and take a leap of faith. I find this to be an entrepreneurial journey with zero bullshit and the people working as one to become the best we could be every day. I am excited to learn, start a new life and I have this eagerness within me to be better than many investors I have met in the past — to be kind, be brave, do good, and stay humble. As we are soon to be one team I am also looking forward to making you my friend and family as well — I kindly request your permission to buy the first beer.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for us.