Plays of the Week – Connect Ventures, Fastlane Ventures, Venista Ventures and Startupbootcamp Berlin, Loopcam

Connect Ventures
Connect Ventures

We’re following the money and bringing you our take on the most important funding plays in and around Berlin this week. First up:

New London VC Connect Ventures eyes Berlin

Connect VenturesTHE LOWDOWN New venture capital firm Connect Ventures, based in the UK, just closed a first €16 million fund, which will focus on seed and Series A funding for European tech companies – with an initial focus on companies in London and Berlin.

An unnamed Berlin e-commerce company is set be one of the first in the new fund’s portfolio. The guys behind Connect Ventures are serial entrepreneur Pietro Bezza and ex-Amadeus Capital manager Bill Earner (pictured).

WHY IT MATTERS Berlin – and European – founders still don’t enjoy the ready, quality stream of seed and early-stage funding available to counterparts in the US. Connect Ventures’ new fund and Seedcamp are among promising new options.

Russia’s Fastlane Ventures closes $25 million round

THE LOWDOWN Moscow incubator Fastlane Ventures, which has already raised about $US60m, just closed a further $US25m funding round led by eVenture Capital (backed by Germany’s Otto Group) and Russian banking group VTB Capital.

WHY IT MATTERS We care as much about investors as startups and web/tech companies. eVenture’s portfolio includes Berlin-based companies 9Flats, Friendsurance and DropGifts. Oh, and Fastlane also invests internationally – including, recently, in Berlin startup Juvalia & You. With Russia’s internet market growing rapidly, it’s an incubator to watch.

Venista Ventures partners in Startupbootcamp Berlin

startupbootcampTHE LOWDOWN German mobile business Venista Ventures is the first official investor in Startupbootcamp’s Berlin expansion (check out our interview with Startupbootcamp co-founder Alex Farcet here). Participants in the three-month accelerator programme get seed funding, a co-working space, top mentors (including Eric Wahlforss from Soundcloud, and Edial and Floris Dekker from Gidsy), and a closing chance to pitch to top VC and angel investors.

WHY IT MATTERS Startupbootcamp is already up and running in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Madrid – Berlin’s a worthy addition. It’s a fantastic opportunity for startups looking for dedicated, expert support. As Venista Ventures’ Kai Schmude puts it, this is a “far more practical and long-term experience than traditional VC investment”.

BONUS POINT Applications for Startupbootcamp’s Berlin round are open until June 17, with the acceleration programme due to start on September 3. Check out the website for details and how to apply.

Loopcam secures funds from Passion Capital, top Berlin founders

width="210"THE LOWDOWN Loopcam – a platform to share short GIF-based photo animations – this week revealed details of a seed funding round led by Passion Capital (based in the UK) and joined by  Zoe Adamovicz (XyologicConcise Software), Alexander Ljung (Soundcloud), Heilemann Ventures (Dailydeal), Christophe Maire (Txtr), Felix Petersen (Amen), Peter Read and Eric Wahlforss (Soundcloud). Loopcam joins fellow Berlin startups EyeEm and Readmill in Passion Capital’s portfolio.

WHY IT MATTERS  It’s inspiring to see successful founders putting their “lucky money” back into up-and-coming startups – just what Berlin needs. Angels, indeed.