A team of French and US industry veterans is in the process of raising €50 million to support Ukrainian startups.
Dubbed ‘Ukrainian Phoenix Fund,’ the new venture fund plans to invest in around 150 startups at the pre-seed and seed stages, said co-founder Dominique Piotet in an exchange with Ukraine Digital News.
Funding in its entirety is expected from international finance institutions, said Piotet without naming them.
“We are on track for a first closing in Q2 2023, with more than half of the capital to be funded at that stage.”
After the first closing, the new fund will begin operating in a sector that turned out to be “surprisingly resilient” amid the war.
“It’s more about supporting continued industry growth than about reconstruction,” said the French businessman.
Startups with at least one Ukrainian founder and a team in Ukraine will be eligible for investing.
Piotet, who heads the Kyiv chapter of La French Tech, has garnered the support of the French authorities. In mid-December, the French and Ukrainian governments agreed on a roadmap to develop a bilateral development program in the field of technologies. Among other goals, the program aims to favor the emergence of private startup investment funds.
“La French Tech Kyiv is here to help create strong bridges between the French and Ukrainian ecosystem,” said Piotet.
The new fund will partner with two existing startup support organizations: eō Business Incubators, which was launched in 2019 by US scholar and businessman Charles Whitehead, and Nest, the acceleration program of Unit.City, a giant tech park under completion in Kyiv.
Whitehead is also a co-founder of the new fund while Piotet served as Unit.City CEO until the middle of last year.
The fund will be based between Kyiv, France, and the USA. Piotet and Whitehead will be Managing Partners with Rudy Amoresano and Rick Rasmussen serving as Partners.