Data-centric e.ventures raises $400 mln for early stage deals in US, Europe

San Francisco-based e.ventures, which for 10 years has culled data to analyze potential investments, has put the wraps on $400 million for two new funds to continue its data-driven approach to backing startups.

The firm closed on $225 million for its sixth U.S.-focused fund, based out of San Francisco, and $175 million for its sixth European fund, based in Berlin. Both of the previous funds were $140 million in size and both new funds were oversubscribed, said Mathias Schilling, co-founder and general partner of e.ventures.

LPs included a mix of endowments, fund of funds, family-owned large corporations and select strategics, Schilling said.

The funds close as the firm has had a recent spate of exits of portfolio companies. London-based FarFetch went public on the NYSE last year at a $6.2 billion valuation; NGINX, which provides open-source software, was acquired in March by F5 Networks for $670 million; the RealReal went public in June; and Shipt was acquired by Target in 2018 for $550 million. Other exits over the years have included Angie’s List, Groupon and Shopping.com, among others.

Current portfolio companies include Deposit Solutions, which helps investors find the best rates for fixed deposits. E.ventures was one of the the first institutional investors in the German company, which has since raised more than $140 million, Schilling said.

The firm is also a backer of Philadelphia-based goPuff, which operates an on-demand delivery service.

E.ventures typically invests up to $10 million in early stage tech startups, particularly in consumer, SaaS and fintech companies with global aspirations.

However, Schilling says what helps to set the firm apart is its data-driven approach.

While many firms in recent years have hired data scientists or added machine-learning algorithms to gauge patterns and provide insights on companies, e.ventures has focused on the the practice for a decade, he said.

Schilling calls it a man-and-machine approach to investing. EVA is the firm’s proprietary data platform that it launched 10 years ago to focus on key metrics for evaluating startups. Operating Partner Conrad Chu said the platform crawls the internet and looks at more than a dozen data points, looking at marketing signals and a combination of other growth indicators, such as hiring patterns.

Schilling said the data is something the firm uses before it meets with prospective companies.

“You can take only so many coffee meetings,” Chu said. “We use the data sourced from EVA and couple that tech with the human efforts to look at companies and find sectors.”

Before joining e.ventures, Chu was CTO at Munchery, where he similarly focused on data analytics. After he joined the venture firm, e.ventures launched Athena, a proprietary tool it uses to provide market insights for its portfolio companies.

“We process a lot of data,” said Chu, who noted that the firm maintains its own servers in-house at its headquarters at the TransAmerica Pyramid in downtown San Francisco. “I can hear the hum of the servers all the time.”

Firm Profile

e.ventures

  • Headquarters: San Francisco
  • Latest funds: $225 mln e.ventures US VI and $175 mln e.ventures Europe VI
  • Point of contact for LPs: Lauren Lyon, operating partner, Lauren@eventures.vc.
  • Notable Exits: FarFetch, NGINX, the RealReal and Shipt.
  • What sets firm apart: Its proprietary data platform, EVA, launched 10 years to focus on key metrics to evaluate startups. Two years ago, e.ventures launched Athena, a proprietary tool it uses to provide market insights for its portfolio companies.