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Anthemis targets $200M for new fund after layoffs and canceled SPAC

Anthemis Group is trying to raise $200 million for a third fund, according to an SEC filing, as first reported by Axios. It has been in the market since last year and has so far secured commitments of just $36.4 million. The firm separately had to scrap plans to raise a SPAC late last month.

Founded in 2010, London-based Anthemis is focused on financial technology (better known as fintech) -- a sector which has been hard hit by the economic downturn and venture capital slowdown. The firm in late 2021 announced that it had raised $700 million in new funds in what a spokesperson described as “a collection of capital” it closed “across strategies” from its venture studio through to its venture growth fund. That collection of capital was dubbed Anthemis Venture Fund II.

The firm previously raised $106 million in its first venture fund in March of 2018.

TechCrunch has reached out to Anthemis about its attempts to raise capital for its third fund, and its dissolved SPAC, but had not yet heard back at the time of writing.

The new fundraising filing comes just months after Anthemis laid off 16 people, or 28% of its staff, as reported by TechCrunch in April. At that time, a spokesperson for London-based Anthemis told TechCrunch that the move was an effort “to better reflect current market conditions and to set up the business for future growth” against its “strategic priorities.”

While we have seen some big funds raised in recent months, the market has tightened dramatically for other firms. Either way, Anthemis is not the only outfit to have had to retreat from SPAC plans. Many others, including Acorns, for example, opted to raise capital instead in 2022. For a while during the bull run, SPACs, also known as special purpose acquisition vehicles, were viewed as a good way for operators, as well as certain VC firms, to extend the amount of capital they could put to work. But they have plunged in popularity since 2022, after the SEC introduced proposed guidelines for SPACs, specifically around disclosures, marketing practices and third-party oversight.

As TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos has previously reported, Senator Elizabeth Warren announced last year that she was planning a bill that targeted the SPAC industry. Called the “SPAC Accountability Act of 2022,” the bill would expand the legal liability of parties involved in SPAC transactions, close loopholes that SPACs have “long exploited to make overblown projections” and lock in longer the investors sponsoring a deal.

So far this year, Anthemis has publicly announced a few new investments. including: Flyby, Elevate (lead investor), Greenspark and Agreena. It also announced a follow-on investment in Flock. The firm has also seen a couple of exits, including Power being acquired by Marqeta and Goji getting picked up by Euroclear. Other companies in its portfolio include social investment app eToro, investing and savings app Betterment and insurtech Vouch.

Like a growing number of firms, Anthemis has also seen a couple of portfolio companies stumble over the last year. In November, controversy surrounding the sudden stepping down of three of Pipe’s co-founders, including its CEO, raised eyebrows. And more recently, LGBTQ+-focused digital bank Daylight was slammed with a lawsuit by three former employees “alleging age and wage discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and fraud.”