When we met almost a decade ago at a wedding in the south of France, little did either of us know that the encounter would lead to a friendship and a business partnership of two highly complementary individuals with the same passion for early-stage technology and working alongside entrepreneurs.
While helping to establish Messier & Associés as a highly successful transatlantic boutique M&A advisory firm, Eric had also become a prolific and successful angel investor. He established White Star Capital in 2007 to support his angel investments and his personal portfolio included stakes in Betaworks, Science, Dollar Shave Club and Ludia (acquired by FremantleMedia) amongst others.
Christian’s engagement with the entrepreneurial ecosystem through his role at Facebook and Google, had also allowed him to advise and invest in a number of startups including Apsmart (acquired by Reuters), Summly (acquired by Yahoo!) and Vyclone, and enabled Christian to work with hundreds of entrepreneurs across Europe.
From this joint interest in the space, our investment partnership grew and, over a year ago, we combined our angel portfolio under the White Star Capital umbrella. We recently decided to dedicate our full-time efforts to support our portfolio of over 20 companies we have invested in to date, and work to find 20 more.
Our investments have always been, and will continue to be, international in nature. From Bloglovin’ in Sweden to MUBI in London, Bluefields in Las Vegas, Interact.io in Berlin and most recently BusBud in Montreal and Hole19 in Portugal. We believe there is a massive opportunity in linking together startups and the supporting ecosystem across the Atlantic and want to leverage White Star Capital to support this link.
To help us in this new chapter, we have assembled a fantastic team that is defined by its international background and operational experience in early-stage startups. We are excited to welcome David and John to the White Star team. John worked with Christian at Facebook before joining Summly, and David and Eric met back in 2007 when they worked together on a number of venture deals. John and David’s own entrepreneurial experiences will be beneficial to our current and future investments. We will continue to strengthen our team in the coming months with people that have been entrepreneurs and can add value through their experiences to our portfolio companies.
So what does White Star Capital stand for and what type of companies do we invest in?
- We believe that “affinity networks” will increase engagement, expand the social graph beyond “friends” and provide new monetization opportunities. This is why we have invested in Bluefields which brings together amateur sports players, Mommy Coach which supports and mentors new mothers and Bloglovin’ which aggregates over 500,000 blogs for millions of fashion-lovers.
- We believe that the rise of mobile as a primary access medium has just started and the growth of tablets and smartphones will influence everything from gaming and media to education, productivity and healthcare. This is why we supported Summly which helped define a new paradigm for news consumption on mobile, interact.io which is building a mobile-centric CRM platform, and Hole19 which provides data and insight to golfers.
- We believe social and mobile gaming will begin to converge with continuous experiences across platforms and devices. This was our thesis when we helped launch Ludia and the reason for our investment in Execution Labs, a gaming-centric incubator in Canada.
- We believe niche and subscription based e-commerce models offers the highest potential engagement rates. This is evidenced by the success of Dollar Shave Club’s focus on men’s toiletries and AdoreMe’s ambition to deliver high-quality, affordable lingerie for women.
Finally, we believe that an opportunity exists to invest in early-stage startups across the Atlantic from seed stage through follow on rounds and to help them scale internationally. We have supported a number of our investments as they established presences in new geographies and helped them find strategic partners and acquirers in the North America and Europe.
We look forward to continuing to work with the angel communities and other venture capital firms with which we have co-invested in the past, with the incubators we have supported and funded and with the amazing entrepreneurs who have allowed us to be part of their stories.