Astus, the global corporate barter company, has announced a strategic investment with FirstPartyCapital (FPC), an early-stage venture capital firm specialising in ad tech, martech, and digital media. The partnership will focus on accelerating ad tech and martech solutions in the UK and around the world.
The strategic investment comes at a time when businesses are struggling to fundraise at the same levels they have been in previous years, with funding in Europe down by 12% and unicorn births down by 85% to only 1 in the first quarter of 2023. As an intermediary partner of nearly every media company and agency in the UK and abroad, Astus is well placed to support ad tech and martech startups at this time, helping them to create growth strategies, creating better solutions for brands and a more competitive marketplace worldwide.
FPC has already raised USD$10m (£8m) and invested in 13 companies since it was founded in 2021. Approx £4m (USD$5m) in funding has been provided to 8 UK startups such as Lumen, Good-loop, and Evorra. The firm's aim is to complete 20 investments and have US$15m (£12m) AUM by the end of 2023, before seeking to raise a USD$50m (£40.2m) second fund next year.
Frances Dickens, chairman & founder, Astus, commented: “The FPC fund invests in diverse new businesses across digital media and, as the pre-eminent angel-backed venture fund investing in adtech and martech companies globally, it really matches our ambitions going forward. This investment creates huge opportunities across the industry, even more so because our agency partners are also interested in FPC clients, creating even more potential value propositions. This is especially true of the UK where, as a result of a VC pullback in North America, there is even more opportunity to create innovation and growth at a local level.”
Rich Ashton, managing partner, FPC, commented: “Marketing spend is expected to reach USD$5tn (£4.026tn) by 2025, yet there are only a handful of sector-focused funds investing in the next wave of innovation that will power the future of the industry. Therefore, we saw a huge opportunity to truly add value to founders in this underserved segment, by not only providing them with capital, but also by connecting them to new commercial opportunities, through our extensive network of individual and corporate investors globally. Astus’ experience and incredible relationships across the media industry, will be a key growth driver for our portfolio companies.”