Berlin's Cherry Closes $170 Million Fund, Joins City's Elite VCs

  • Cherry Ventures Aims to boost seed rounds for euro startups
  • Limited partners include Germany's Haniel and ProSieben TV

Cherry Ventures, one of Berlin’s most prominent venture capital firms, has raised a new fund worth about 150 million euros ($170 million) that it plans to direct at the city’s burgeoning startup scene.

The fund vaults Cherry into Berlin’s top four VCs by fund size at a time when the city has become Europe’s venture capital destination.

Cherry Ventures II, managed by alumni of online apparel retailer Zalando SE and another company once owned by the startup incubator Rocket Internet SE, plans to aim for technology startups seeking bigger seed investment rounds than Berlin’s angel investors typically provide, managing partner Filip Dames said.

"There are a lot of angels but relatively little institutional early-stage seed money in the market," Dames said. "We think seed rounds are still too small here."

Cherry wants to furnish startups with 700,000 euros to 1.5 million euros, significantly more than is typical of that stage investment in Berlin. That would give companies a couple of years to grow without staying in capital-raising mode all the time, said Dames.

With the new fund, Cherry Ventures joins Project A Ventures, BlueYard Capital and Earlybird Venture Capital as Berlin’s early-stage VCs whose funds top 100 million euros. Rocket Chief Executive Officer Oliver Samwer and his brother Marc’s Global Founders Capital in January raised a round of $420 million to invest in tech startups across early and later rounds.

Investors in Cherry’s new fund include the German family investment company Franz Haniel & Cie GmbH, pay TV provider ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, and the European Investment Fund, which is backed by the European Union.

Cherry has bet on startups that include used car marketplace Auto1 Group and long-distance European bus service FlixBus. It also invested in restaurant-booking app Quandoo, sold for 200 million euros last year.

In addition to Dames, Cherry’s partners include Daniel Glasner and Christian Meermann. The three also personally invested in the new fund, Dames said.

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