New $120m fund for VC firm Wingman Ventures as it rebrands as Founderful
Five years after its inception, Wingman Ventures has rebranded as Founderful, announcing the successful raising of $85m for its new fund, with aspirations to achieve a final close of $120m in the forthcoming months.
Founded in 2019 by Pascal Mathis, co-founder of Swiss unicorn GetYourGuide, Alex Stöckl, former Switzerland Lead at Creathor Ventures, and Lukas Weder, co-founder of EAT.ch, the firm's mission is to support Swiss tech startups in becoming global market leaders by providing founder-focused funding from the pre-seed stage.
Defying the common venture capital practice of holding 'dry powder,' Founderful has made close to 50 investments over the past four years, including eight in Swiss startups in 2023 alone.
From its first fund, Founderful invested $60m in 40 startups, aiding 109 founders in creating 1,093 jobs and securing nearly six times more in additional funding, amounting to over $350m from leading international venture firms within just three years. Noteworthy examples include Wingtra, which has grown to 200 employees and over $20m in annual revenue, DePoly, known for its innovative plastics recycling technology and a $15m seed round, and Corintis, collaborating with global big tech and enterprise businesses.
The capital from Fund II has already been allocated to promising startups such as Chiral Nano, Nala Earth, Ascento, SAEKI, Anthropos, Isospec Analytics, Eightinks, and Faive Robotics.
Alex Stöckl, Founding Partner at Founderful, commented: “We’re beyond grateful that we get to continue our work with the most ambitious founder teams of this exciting ecosystem. Switzerland is one of the world’s fastest-growing venture capital markets. With the global shift towards more complex technologies solving some of our society’s most pressing challenges, it will become one of the world’s most important tech hubs. With our founder-operator backgrounds and the deeply rooted access we’ve built over the years into the universities and research institutions with our Founderful Campus program, we’ve become the go-to firm for entrepreneurs and investors alike.”
Founderful II has attracted a diverse range of backers, including institutions, family offices, and founders from global unicorns like Duolingo, Climeworks, GetYourGuide, Delivery Hero, and Scandit.
Severin Hacker, CTO, and Co-Founder at Duolingo, commented: "Building Duolingo, I've seen my own fair share of VC firms, and it is rare to collaborate with an investor who is as meticulous and relentless toward creating value to the founders they backed, as the team at Founderful.”
Jonas Theiler, Head of Asset Management at Artemis Group, added: “We’ve been working with Founderful since day one, and the companies they back have impressive substance and relevance from a technological and business perspective – they are spot-on doubling down on the Swiss venture ecosystem.”
With a focus on the Swiss tech market, Founderful specialises in supporting B2B software and industrial technology ventures, including robotics, artificial intelligence, computer vision technologies, and material science innovations in cleantech, climate tech, and construction tech. The firm works closely with academia and industry to cultivate the next generation of tech leaders.
Lukas Weder, Founding Partner at Founderful, commented: “Our fresh identity as Founderful reflects our purpose as a venture capital business to have the deepest understanding of founders and give them the highest level of support. We were once founders ourselves and know what it takes to succeed. We are redefining founder-friendliness beyond just the term sheet through sharing advice, granting insights, and investing courageously. We bring light-heartedness and empathy to serious topics and remain calm in the face of adversity. We try to be the honest companion we would have wanted by our side when we built our own companies.”
The investment thesis of Founderful is validated by three major trends:
- Switzerland's continuous ranking at the top of the Global Innovation Index for 13 years, its world-leading patent per capita ratio, and ETH Zurich's record in producing university spin-outs
- The growing presence of big tech in Switzerland, evidenced by Google's significant developer base and the expansion of other tech giants
- Switzerland's status as a ‘Unicorn state’, with a high per capita rate of billion-dollar tech startups, highlighting its increasing importance in the global B2B technology sector.
Yoram Wijngaarde, CEO and Founder of Dealroom, added: “When looking at our data, Switzerland has been on the rise as one of Europe’s fastest growing VC ecosystems over the past five years, and in 2023 becoming the fifth largest venture market on the continent only behind powerhouses UK, Germany, France and Sweden. When you look at nine tech unicorns on 9 million inhabitants, it becomes apparent that this is a market you cannot miss in your coverage as a European fund or limited partner.”