LONDON Britain's Notion Capital is on its way to raising $150 million (94 million pounds) for a new technology fund, bucking a trend of dwindling venture-capital investment in Europe.
Notion, whose founders Jos and Ben White made headlines with their sale of messaging security company Messagelabs to Symantec (SYMC.O) for $700 million in 2008, is looking for business-to-business companies in the fast-growing area of cloud computing.
Venture fundraising in Europe tumbled to $5.6 billion in 2010 from $10.7 billion in 2008, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Jos White said the fact that 10 percent of the fund was coming from Notion partners, plus the fact that they could be choosy thanks to a relative lack of venture capital investments in Europe, was attracting investors.
The firm said it had closed $100 million in funds and was confident of getting to its maximum of $150 million in the coming months.
Richard Holway, IT analyst and co-founder of Britain's TechMarketView, said, "Given the great difficulty which other tech-based funds have had in raising funds in recent years, this is a great testimony to the reputation of the White brothers."
Jos White told Reuters, "We like Europe because there's this scarcity of capital. The U.S. is overheating and valuations are being driven upwards. It's an increasingly competitive market."
Start-ups are changing hands for rapidly growing prices in the United States, as Facebook makes its final preparations for Silicon Valley's most highly anticipated initial public offering since the dot.com era, expected to value the company at up to $100 billion.
Last week, Facebook itself said it would pay $1 billion in cash and stock for Instagram, a two-year-old photo-sharing application developer.
(Editing by John Wallace)