European VC firms Amadeus and Apex partner for €80M early-stage 'deep tech' fund
U.K.-based Amadeus Capital Partners and Austria's Apex Ventures are pooling their collective venture capital (VC) resources for a new fund specifically targeted at early-stage deep tech startups.
The duo have raised an initial €28 million ($30 million) for the Amadeus Apex Technology Fund, with plans to close it out at €80 million ($85 million). The fund has already made its first investment, too, participating in a hitherto undisclosed second-closing of German space startup Okapi-Orbits's seed funding round to the tune of $1 million.
The fund’s core investment team includes Amadeus’ co-founders Anne Glover and Hermann Hauser, who are joined by Apex partners Andreas Riegler and Wolfgang Neubert.
Amadeus Apex Technology Fund: Anne Glover (Amadeus), Andreas Riegler (APEX), Wolfgang Neubert (APEX), Hermann Hauser (Amadeus). Image Credits: Amadeus Apex Technology Fund
The goal of the Amadeus Apex Technology Fund is to invest between €1-1.5 million in seed and Series A-stage startups with "unique and defendable technology," and will include AI, quantum computing, mobility and outer space, robotics and other areas of the deep tech sphere. Moreover, the fund's core focus will be on the so-called DACH region, incorporating Germany, Austria and Switzerland, though there is scope to meander into nearby markets -- though this won't include the U.K.
"The partnership also allows for early-stage investments in other European markets outside the U.K., such as Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands, which are on our radar for everything from quantum tech to photonics and AI," Riegler explained to TechCrunch. "We've focused on this region because we recognize it as a perfect breeding ground for early-stage deep tech innovation, with top universities and a large developer pool. At the same time, deep tech funding is still low, which presents a huge opportunity for growth."
Founded in 1997, Cambridge, U.K.-based Amadeus Capital Partners has made more than 260 investments over the past 25 years, with exits to its name including network security company Forescout, which was snapped up by a duo of private equity firms for $1.9 billion in 2020, and self-driving startup FiveAI, which was acquired by Bosch last year. Apex Ventures, meanwhile, has made some 40 investments since its formation in Vienna six years ago, most recently joining a €2.7 million funding round into German biophotonics startup Refined Laser Systems.
So while both VC firms have different histories, they have each been investing into the deep tech realm off their volition just fine until now -- so why partner up on this new fund?
"We have collaborated with [Amadeus Capital's] Hermann Hauser for many years -- he was an investor in our [Apex's] first fund and an advisory board member of the firm, and we have multiple joint investments," Riegler said. "This subsequently led to a close relationship with the Amadeus Capital Partners team. The Amadeus team wanted to expand their early-stage footprint in Europe and turned to Apex Ventures for our local expertise, deal flow and syndication experience."
And for Apex, a relative newcomer to the VC scene compared to Amadeus, it taps a quarter-century of investment experience.
"We greatly benefit from access to over 25 years of experience and a network in deep tech," Riegler said.