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As VC firms invest more in B2B startups, Intuition is a new VC fund focusing on consumer tech

Date 30 Apr, 2024

Writen by Romain Dillet

Position Senior Reporter

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In 2024, it’s hard to wake up without reading about yet another large funding round in an enterprise AI company. Intuition, however, a new VC firm based in Paris, is doing something radical by betting on consumer tech exclusively.

Behind the scenes, Hugo Amsellem (pictured left) and Etienne Boutan (pictured right) will be the general partners of this new fund. Amsellem has worked for Jellysmack and written about consumer tech and influencers for the past few years — including this very interesting piece on loneliness and how it affects consumer tech and culture.

Amsellem is also better known as one of the first employees of The Family, which was an iconic startup accelerator based in Paris. More recently, people have been talking about The Family because of the ongoing lawsuits against its co-founder Oussama Ammar, who has allegedly diverted millions of euros for his own profit.

Amsellem left The Family in 2019. When we talked about this part of his career, he’s disappointed to see how things ended and wants to move on.

As for Boutan, he started his career as a professional basketball player. Before founding Intuition, he co-founded AI startup Heex Technologies.

The duo teamed up to raise an initial fund of €15 million ($16 million at today’s exchange rate). They have already invested in a handful of consumer startups in Europe and the U.S. after a first closing but they’re still actively raising for the fund.

They also recruited Axel Toupane (NBA champion), Eliott Kessas (co-founder of Daring) and Erika Batista (general partner at On Deck Runway Fund) as venture partners.

“Hugo and I were amongst some of the most active early-stage investors in consumer startups in Europe and with the addition of Axel, Eliott and Erika as venture partners we wanted to make sure we could expand our coverage in the U.S. at the heart of consumer tech in San Francisco and culture in Los Angeles,” Boutan said.

The investment thesis for Intuition is quite simple: There’s a lack of consumer tech investment right now. That’s because investing in consumer and culture has historically been a bit risky for two reasons.

First, it’s hard to generate revenue when you’re working on a fun mobile app or the next big social network. It sometimes feels like you’re either working on the next unicorn or you’ll end up in the deadpool.

Second, there are a handful of consumer-focused tech companies that are simply dominating, like Meta, ByteDance and Snap. Sure, some Big Tech companies like Meta, Google and Amazon acquired consumer companies to turn them into major consumer platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitch. But it feels like this acquisition window has closed.

“Working on consumer is really not cool these days because it’s been five to seven years of failures in the consumer vertical, and there hasn’t been a lot of liquidity,” Amsellem said.

“All the funds that have seen these under-performances and have had a huge amount of money to deploy because they’ve raised gigantic funds, they still say ‘yes, I’m doing consumer deals,’ but they don’t say it too loud,” he added. “In fact, this is our opportunity.”

At the same time, many smart people are still working on consumer products — think BeReal, Amo, Retro, The Browser Company, etc. Innovation hasn’t stopped and some of these companies will succeed.

And with the current pace of innovation in artificial intelligence, Intuition expects to see new interesting things happening in the space.

That’s why Intuition wants to help the next wave of consumer companies. The VC firm plans to invest anything between €100,000 and €500,000 at the pre-seed or seed stage. It will invest in more than 40 companies with its initial fund.

“There’s only one subject I want to work on, and that’s consumer and everything adjacent to consumer — everything that changes culture,” Amsellem said.

Intuition is VC + events

“I don’t think there’s room for a €30 million consumer fund focused solely on consumer products,” Amsellem said. Adding events on top of investment will grow Intuition’s revenue, which should help the firm when it comes to hiring a bigger team and making smarter bets.

So the company wants to create a community of people working on consumer and culture so that they can learn from each other and find the next big thing together.

Intuition is launching a series of events co-hosted with other key VC firms, such as Felix Capital (in London), a16z (in New York), Greylock (in Los Angeles) and General Catalyst (in San Francisco). Later this year, this tour will culminate with Intuition’s flagship event at Station F in Paris on September 20.

This event strategy reminds me of Jason Lemkin’s SaaStr conferences. While SaaStr attracts 15,000 people for its main conference, Intuition is still at the start of its journey. The new firm plans to invite a few hundred people for its first events. But it’s interesting to see that a VC firm is taking consumer tech seriously again.

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