Moonfire Ventures is today announcing it has raised $115 million to continue backing Europe’s best early-stage startups. Combining a human and tech approach, Moonfire uses proprietary machine learning models and software across the VC value chain to transform venture, solving founder challenges at scale, with greater knowledge and speed.
Through this Moonfire is embracing the new age of AI that is redefining how tech companies are built, driving further access, efficiency and product quality while revolutionising the startup opportunity for founders.
Moonfire: A tech firm transforming venture
Since its launch in 2020, by former Atomico co-founder Mattias Ljungman, Moonfire has been building the most advanced quantitative VC firm in Europe. A firm that is as much a VC-focused tech startup as it is a VC firm and its VCs are as much investors as they are product managers. The team isn’t using off-the-shelf tools, it’s built custom AI models and a large-scale tech stack from the ground up, allowing it to integrate tech across the full VC value chain, from founder discovery to exit.
It’s a symbiotic, proprietary approach that sees the AI help the investors make better decisions; while the investors and on-hand engineers can directly and continuously improve the AI in response to evolving trends and market shifts. All of which directly benefits founders by enabling its investors to build deeper founder relationships.
Moonfire’s technical power, when combined with the team’s operator experience, is a key draw for founders looking for a partner to help them solve their hardest technical challenges. Such as how to harness the power of AI and machine learning – an opportunity the Moonfire team is uniquely placed to help founders maximise, alongside traditional areas like hiring, go-to-market and fundraising. Such is the impact of its approach, Moonfire believes it represents the future of VC by enabling its team to be more impactful, more productive, and drive more value for its founders. A key step in the rise of the 10x VC.
Maths with words
Having defined this approach with Fund I, Moonfire is taking it to the next level with Fund II.
Moonfire now reviews up to 50,000 companies every week – more than 600 times the average of a traditional VC – in search of the very best founding teams in Europe using next-level technologies like AI, Web3, and AR/VR to transform four key sectors – health, work, finance and gaming. Moonfire describes this focus as “where sources of disruption intersect with sectors that are driving innovation” and believes this is key in the pursuit of a more accessible, sustainable and equitable society.
Such is the importance of this thesis, it forms the basis of Moonfire’s AI company evaluation and is the worldview upon which its algorithms model themselves. Using this mathematical representation of its written thesis, Moonfire’s AI is able to discover companies and founders that align with this unique worldview. It empowers investors to make better decisions, faster; it makes VC more inclusive: finding overlooked talent early, more frequently, and with greater accuracy.
Moonfire’s investment into UK Fintech LiveFlow is an example of its tech-first approach in action. Having sourced LiveFlow through its AI engine, Moonfire led the Pre-Seed round alongside Seedcamp and then used the Moonfire team’s technical expertise to build a recruitment funnel that empowered LiveFlow to hire a new, highly experienced CTO. LiveFlow went on to raise a $4 million Seed round, at more than double its initial pre-Seed valuation.
Moonfire Ventures’ Managing Partner Mattias Ljungman said:
“We are entering a new decade of AI that is transforming the possibilities of technology and redefining how tech companies are built through greater access, efficiency and product quality. We want to be there for the founders at the earliest stages powering their growth and being true partners from the very beginning. Europe has been a leader in AI and we find our best fit is to support the next generation of founders solving some of our greatest challenges within health, work, finance and gaming."
Building on success
Ljungman founded Moonfire using insight from 20+ years investing in tech leaders, from Klarna ($6.5bn) to Supercell ($10bn). Partner Mike Arpaia is a computer scientist focused on AI and quantitative finance. He was previously co-founder and CTO of security platform Kolide, and formerly tech lead at Facebook, Etsy, and Workday. Joining Ljungman and Arpaia is a team of entrepreneurs and technologists, 90% of whom have founded and scaled companies themselves.
To date, the Moonfire team has led 23 deals and co-invested in a further 27 with top-tier investors Sequoia, Accel, Index, General Catalyst and Accel since having joined its founders' journeys. Notable successes from Fund I include portfolio company Humaans recently raising a $15m Series A round, Lightdash completing a $7M round led by Accel, and GOALS closing a $20m Series A round with Seven Seven Six. In addition to its $90M Fund II, the firm has raised $25M to double down on its winners via its Opportunity Fund.
Moonfire Ventures partner and computer scientist Mike Arpaia said:
“The power of the AI and VC partnership has always been at the core of Moonfire and, with the launch of Fund II, we see it move to the next level. This new level combines human and machine like never before, hoping to turn an inefficient and inequitable industry on its head. With AI solving the mental-manual work, we can focus on the aspects humans are better at – meeting and forming relationships with founders.”
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