2020 will go down in history as the year software saved the world. As Covid-19 hit, we went remote — almost overnight. We’d been doing it all already — occasional days working from home, buying clothes, food and furniture online, chatting to colleagues on Zoom and family members on Skype. But in March it became the only option.
Now, we share glasses of wine over Zoom with friends, after using it to attend all-day virtual conferences. Our parents, once loyal customers of their local supermarket, order their weekly shop online. At work, we all rely on a huge number of tools to power our connectivity and productivity. Many changes we as VCs were anticipating over the months and years ahead have suddenly been supercharged.
What an amazing time to be in B2B software.
Today, we announce the launch of Dawn IV, our largest, most ambitious and exciting fund to date. With $400m raised from leading blue-chip investors around the world — from Europe, the US and Asia — and with all our existing investors re-upping, we stand ready to invest in the companies ensuring tomorrow comes even faster.
This is a testament to the strength and depth of B2B SaaS in Europe; we are very excited to be a beneficiary of all the great work being done across the continent. And this isn’t about us: it’s about the exceptional founders who spend their days (and nights) building, and our investors, who have backed us so we can back them.
The Dawn portfolio has shown its tremendous worth to organisations of all shapes and sizes during the past few months, from Soldo repurposing its employee expense cards to enable the Italian government to hand out relief to citizens during Covid, to Element ensuring governments across Europe have a secure communication channel, and Onna centralising data and documents across all the apps and tools you use at work every day.
Our portfolio unicorns, Collibra and Dataiku, are continuing to show their right to exist in the value chain by serving real company needs — with the growth to match. This has also shown in strong investor support, with both raising $100m in fresh capital since April.
But the potency of B2B SaaS is an enduring phenomenon, and the thesis upon which we raised this fund. Here is a category whose business model — largely based on recurring revenue — has buoyed global stock markets for 20 years, and kept them broadly resilient throughout 2020. Here is a category built on the strongest unit economics the world has ever seen; in best in class, the cost of acquiring customers decreases with every new sign up. And that’s as the barriers to entry, bolstered by cloud and better code, continue to lower, too.
At Dawn, we believe the most exciting demonstration of the power of software is right here in Europe. We’ve been in this market for a couple of decades now, with a track record that shows we know what works — and one which we are looking forward to building on further.
In Europe, we have some of the most outstanding founders in the world — many of whom we at Dawn are lucky enough to partner with. The number of second-time founders keeps rising, talent is still markedly cheaper than in the US, and those of us investing in these brilliant opportunities are still fewer and further between than across the pond. What’s more, Covid has levelled the playing field; we can co-invest with partners around the world, and we can connect our founders to potential clients across geographies, with virtual meetings now well and truly an accepted part of our day-to-day.
We look forward to meeting exceptional founders from towns and cities across the continent. We are ready to hear from you — and hunt for you! And we will partner with the best companies throughout their lifetimes, helping them at every step to become global, category-defining businesses.
In fact, we’ll go further than that. B2B SaaS, as the past few months have shown, isn’t just building new categories; it’s inventing entirely new ways of living — for businesses, and for individuals. Software has saved us. Now let’s build the future.