May 24, 2024
Former Anthemis partner soft-launches new fintech-focused venture firm | TechCrunch


Ruth Foxe Blader has left her role as partner at Anthemis Group after nearly seven years to start her own venture firm, Foxe Capital, TechCrunch learned exclusively today.

Blader is joined by former Anthemis investment associate Kyle Perez. Sophie Winwood is serving as an operating partner. Winwood previously co-founded WVC:E, an organization that pledges to promote “inclusion, empowerment and integration of VC globally,” with Blader.

Over the years, Blader says she has led investments in more than 50 fintech startups, including Lemonade, Branch, Elevate, Flock, Mesh and Amplify.

A desire to invest independently was the main driver behind Blader’s decision to leave London-based Anthemis, Blader told TechCrunch in an interview. The investor says she got a taste of what that was like after she and Winwood started WVC:E in April 2022.

Foxe Capital will continue investing on behalf of Anthemis, serving as a sub advisor for the firm, and essentially managing the vehicle she was hired to run in 2017. When all that capital has been deployed — Blader projects that it will stop writing checks into startups this year out of the Anthemis funds — Foxe Capital will focus on fundraising. Meanwhile, Foxe Capital is being compensated for continuing to run the fund on behalf of Anthemis, according to Blader. 

Anthemis continues to have an economic interest in that vehicle but does not own any part of the management company and will only have a continued economic interest in Foxe Capital if it chooses to be an LP when the firm fundraises in the future, according to Blader.

An Anthemis spokesperson confirmed the move, sharing via email: “Ruth wanted to be an independent manager. Anthemis proudly backs her. She will continue to support us as an investor across her current Anthemis funds.”

While Blader travels back and forth currently between France and New York (Blader has been living in Europe/New York for 15 years), Foxe Capital is based in New York City. Its investments will be global, with the U.S. as its home market. 

“We have the most familiarity [outside of the U.S.] with Europe but have also done investments in India, Cameroon and LatAm,” she told TechCrunch. “We’ll be looking to invest opportunistically globally.”

Restructuring and a failed SPAC

Anthemis has had its share of upheaval — and turnover — in recent times.

Last April, TechCrunch broke the news that Anthemis Group had completed a restructuring that resulted in its letting go of 16 employees, or about 28% of its staff.

A spokesperson for London-based Anthemis at the time said the move was an effort “to better reflect current market conditions and to set up the business for future growth” against its “strategic priorities.”

Also, last May, TechCrunch reported that Anthemis Group was trying to raise $200 million for a third fund. It had been in the market since 2022 and had only secured commitments of just $36.4 million. The firm separately had to scrap plans to raise a SPAC in late April. 

In the past 18 months, Anthemis also saw a couple of portfolio companies stumble. In November 2022, controversy surrounding the sudden stepping down of three of Pipe’s co-founders, including its CEO, raised eyebrows. And in 2023, LGBTQ+-focused digital bank Daylight was slammed with a lawsuit by three former employees “alleging age and wage discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and fraud.” The startup shut down later in the year.

The firm’s 2023 restructuring was not the first time it saw a management shakeup. Anthemis also made headlines in 2018 when its then-CEO and co-founder Nadeem Shaikh resigned after reportedly being the target of a sexual harassment complaint by a female employee.

Blader is not the first fintech-focused investor to venture out on her own in recent times.

Early last year, Peter Ackerson departed fintech-focused Fin Capital to co-found a new firm, Audere Capital. It is still unclear as to whether Ackerson left voluntarily or was forced to leave. A source with familiarity of internal happenings at Fin Capital alleged there was tension between Ackerson and managing partner and founder Logan Allin around portfolio company alternative financing startup Pipe — an investment into which Ackerson led and on whose board he sat. Audere has invested in five startups, according to PitchBook — only one of which is focused on financial services.

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