Apple veteran plans to invest €80 million in pandemic-proof startups

A former Apple executive has raised €80 million (£72 million) to invest in startups that can survive and thrive post-pandemic.

Pascal Cagni, who was Apple's head of Europe from 2010 until 2012, is looking to find the big disrupter that will come out of the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNBC.

His firm, C4Ventures, has backed more than 30 companies, with each investment valued at around €3 million. The biggest names that Cagni has backed include Nest, the smart thermostat acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, and Graphcore, a Bristol-based AI chip startup reportedly valued at $2 billion.

Despite leaving Apple eight years ago, Cagni still claims to have connections to some of Apple's top leaders, according to CNBC, including Internet Software and Services SVP Eddy Cue and Worldwide Marketing SVP Phil Schiller. Startups shouldn't expect an automatic introduction, though.

"I may put you in contact with Apple, but it will be very, very rare, and I will never abuse that," Cagni said.

Cagni's former Apple colleague Raphael Crouan is also at C4Ventures as a partner of business development. The pair told CNBC that Apple's methodology, rigorous processes and attention to detail are experiences that they're able to draw on as they invest in startups.

But with global economies taking a hit from coronavirus and many businesses adjusting to what could be a 'new normal', the team at C4Ventures are looking for businesses that can keep going during lockdown measures and social distancing.

C4Ventures is not alone in this regard as there are a number of VCs looking to find future Unicorns, many of which have more cash at their disposal. Israel-based investment platform OurCrowd recently announced a $100 million "Pandemic Innovation Fund" to target tech solutions for the coronavirus and future pandemics.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, video conferencing platforms have come to the fore, such as Pexip. The Norwegian firm recently debuted on the stock market, using remote technologies to do so, and is not far of unicorn status.


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