Today is the official launch of Kima Ventures, a venture fund that seeks to invest in startups all over the world at the seed stage, in the internet sector but also mobile, video games and telecom.
Kima is very exciting because of the two entrepreneurs who started it. The first is Israel-based Jérémie Berrebi, founder of Net2One back in Bubble 1.0, a forerunner of Google News, and now Zlio, a create-your-own-online-shop site, and angel investor in countless startups. The second is Xavier Niel, the founder of Iliad, the most innovative ISP in France, and France’s first (and only?) self-made internet billionaire, who has also done some angel investing himself. So we are talking about two major league entrepreneurs and investors creating a fund to invest globally. Kima has set a goal to invest in over 100 startups in its first two years. They are willing to invest alongside other seed funds or angels, and will use their considerable network to help companies progress, including raising additional rounds from institutional VCs if they need to.
I helped Berrebi with the launch of the fund and can tell you a little bit about the vision for Kima. Kima wants to set itself apart from other funds in a variety of ways. First of all, they promise a firm answer within 2-4 weeks, which for anyone who’s been through the maddening dance of raising money is just heaven. Second of all, they will invest all over the world. And finally, they intend to help startups within their portfolio connect with each other to share insights and best practices. The long term goal is for Kima portfolio startups to be a deep and global ecosystem of entrepreneurs and companies.
And finally, Kima’s investment philosophy is openly inspired by charge-for-stuff startup 37signals. They want their investment to help the startup get to profitability as soon as possible, ideally before their next round. No Twitter for those guys! (Even though Niel and Berrebi are both investors in Status.net, the “WordPress of microblogging”)
Given the record of the founders and their ambition, Kima is a really big deal, and I can’t wait to find out about the startups they’re going to invest in.