Lunar Ventures launches technically oriented, €40M fund, aimed at deep tech startups – TechCrunch

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Lunar Ventures, a new, technically oriented VC fund aimed at early-stage deep tech startups, is announcing the closing of its €40 million first fund.

Lunar was founded in Berlin in 2019 by Dr Elad Verbin, a computer science researcher; Mick Halsband, a CTO and software architect; and Luis Shemtov, a former entrepreneur.

The launch is timely: Deep tech investments in Europe have almost tripled in the last five years, nearing €10 billion in 2020. That is roughly a quarter of the total VC investments in the continent.

Verbin said, “Technical startup founders in Europe have a big problem. They struggle to find investors who actually understand what they’re building. Most VCs in Europe don’t come from a technical or scientific background, and they struggle to evaluate the underlying technology, failing to invest in promising science-based moonshots.” Personally, this is also my experience.

Verbin continued: “We are a team of scientists and engineers and we have built Lunar Ventures to solve this problem. We find the best startups building the future, our team conducts rigorous technical due diligence to evaluate their true potential, and then we lead their funding rounds.”

The fund will invest up to €1 million into early-stage deep tech startups that are software-focused, aiming at the frontier of computer science, machine learning, cryptography, new cloud infrastructures and next-generation databases.

So far it’s invested in Zama, a Paris-based startup building end-to-end encryption for machine learning models; Berlin-based Deepset, enabling computers to understand plain language; and Molecule, a drug discovery platform using the Ethereum blockchain.

Lunar is backed by LPs such as Isomer Capital, Multiple Capital, Aldea Ventures, Compagnia di San Paolo and the European Investment Fund.