Why we invested in Labrys Technologies ⛑️

Welcome 🇪🇺

Welcome to a special issue of the European Resilience Newsletter and thank you to those who already subscribed! Uwe and I (more about us at the end) started this newsletter to accelerate the building of the European DefenceTech ecosystem and fill a critical gap in European Resilience. We will keep the content bite-sized, frequent and free. We also openly invite guest content creators to contribute (see below for details on how to join). Our goal is to build an ecosystem of founders, operators, investors, and industry experts who are dedicated to enhancing European resilience through technology.

Why We Invested in Labrys Technologies ⛑️

In my life outside of venture capital, I have and had the opportunity to often see other parts of the world than the privileged often cited “first world”. Over the past years, I was fortunate to be involved in quite a few humanitarian disaster response, aiming to bring aid and relief to crisis-stricken regions. A key challenge in these humanitarian efforts is coordination. While plans may appear straightforward on paper, the reality on the ground is a different story. Typically, these plans involve expansive teams dispersed across difficult terrains, grappling with unreliable communication and a constantly evolving situation. The dynamic nature of these scenarios means that by the time one arrives, the situation has already transformed multiple times.

When meeting the Labrys team for the first time, all those memories and experiences came to mind. Based on impressive military careers, the team around August and Luke have built an incredible successful tech solution for humanitarian and military scenarios in difficult environments that addresses issues like communication, geolocation and payments. As Mike Butcher mentioned in his article on TechCrunch, the go-to solution in many instances is an old acquaintance: WhatsApp. While many advantages, it also has clear disadvantages for such a situation, especially if you’re an “official” organization that is bound to law and regulation, like a government or a humanitarian NGO: How do you validate that the people on the other end are actually your partners on the ground? How do you get funds to them in a compliant way and how do you manage one to many conversations?

Humanitarian worker in the field

Enter the Labrys team — and with them, a deep treasure of operational experience and understanding the specific pains and challenges that need solving. August and Luke, as well as folks like Dan and Tom have witnessed these challenges firsthand worldwide and have transformed their experiences into a scalable, high-performance software called Axiom. Axiom was instrumental behind the evacuation of Afghanistan, along with humanitarian organizations like the Ukrainian Red Cross and the Ukrainian State Emergency Services, as well as governments branches like the UK Foreign Office and defense forces.

Axiom Platform

Labrys, and their Axiom products, are true dual use in nature and thus fitted very well with our investment thesis: It is obvious that turmoils that rock the world through conflict, disasters, climate change, inequality and other factors will require much better answers and solutions compared to what we have today. This belief opens the door to a new class of entrepreneurial ventures that offer technological solutions to both public and private sectors. It is precisely these kinds of investment opportunities, spearheaded by exceptional teams like Labrys, that we seek to discover, support, and invest in.

Co-founders: August Lersten and Luke Wattam

We are very excited to be working with August, Luke as well as our co-investors MD-One, Expedition Fund, Marque VC and Offset Ventures for this round.

A huge thank you to our very own Jack Wang who has been leading the charge here and has done a tremendous job all around with this investment.

European Resilience Tech Newsletter Team

Uwe Horstmann co-founded Project A Ventures in 2012 as General Partner and has built Project A to be a leading European early stage investor with over $1bn USD under management and having backed 100+ founders. In addition to Project A, Uwe serves as Reserve Officer in the German armed forces and advises the German Ministry of Defence in digital transformation issues.

Jack Wang is a software engineer turned product driven tech investor and joined Project A in 2021 to lead the firm’s deep tech investing, which have grown to include DefenceTech. Prior to joining Project A, Jack worked in a variety of organisations such as Amazon and Macquarie Group across Australia, US and UK / Europe. Jack holds a MBA from London Business School and Bachelors of Engineering (Bioinformatics, 1st) from UNSW, Australia.

Project A Ventures is one of the leading early-stage tech investors in Europe with offices in Berlin and London. In addition to 1 billion USD assets under management, Project A supports its 100+ portfolio companies with a platform team over 140 functional experts in key areas such as software and product development, business intelligence, brand, design, marketing, sales and recruiting. Project A have backed founders of Trade Republic, WorldRemit, Sennder, KRY, Spryker, Catawiki, Unmind and Voi as well as founders building in European Resilience: