With the after-effect of the pandemic playing out for years, VCs specializing in health, wellness and general ‘happiness’ would appear to have growing wealth. Funds such as Skilled partners AND The joy have emerged in recent years to invest in startups that make people’s lives healthier, or at least more fun. In Europe, this sector has been established with Nina Capital in Barcelona, Heal Capital in Berlin, InHealth Ventures London and Apollo Health Ventures in Germany, among others.
In this space, a new fund is being launched out of Europe to advance the continent’s incredible tech and wellness talent.
Extraordinary undertaking is a new Venture Capital firm based in London, investing in technologies that give people “happier, healthier and longer lives, supporting planetary health”, they say.
Exceptional Ventures Fund 1 will be a £20m / $24m vehicle focused primarily on the UK and Europe, with some further investments focusing on early-stage startups, mainly pre-stage -seed and seed.
Pio was previously MD Europe at Joyance Partners, where he invested in 25 startups across 9 countries. He is also the co-founder and trainer of Urban Tribe, a fitness boot camp in London and Dubai.
Cooper was part of the founding team at Capital One Bank in the US and later founded CapitalOne Bank (Europe). He was also co-founder of Tandem Bank, Chairman of Octopus Capital Group and has invested in more than 130 companies as an Angel.
Coming together to form Exceptional Ventures in early 2021, the team has so far invested in Mental Health (Clerkenwell Health), non-alcoholic drink alternatives and the future of food (Bar.On, Planetary and REAL) and sustainable hygiene feminine and personal care products (Here We Flo).
Speaking to me on a phone call, Pio said the fund aimed to build a portfolio of 40 companies.
Cooper added: “Our fund will include health technology and we will also work beyond that. So in the future of food, soft drinks. So we’re a little wider than normal ‘goodness’. But my sense is that this whole area is dramatically attracting and attracting the best entrepreneurs and attracting a lot of new fund managers. I think the challenge is that a lot of them don’t have the history and connections that we have. So they’re not able to enter into the deals that we can.”
Pio added: “I lived and worked in San Francisco at Cisco. The next event we’re doing will be in London and another one will be in San Francisco. So it’s nice to be connected to that ecosystem. Sometimes, for example, we invest in companies in Europe that might want to talk to companies in the US, and we can do that.”