March 20, 2018 / 9:35 AM / 4 months ago

Fidelity's Eight Road Ventures Europe raises $375 mln fund

LONDON (Reuters) - Fidelity’s Eight Roads Ventures Europe has raised a new $375 million fund, its third, with plans to invest in growth-stage tech firms across Europe and Israel that aim to scale up globally, the venture firm said on Tuesday.

Davor Hebel, managing partner and head of the European investor, said his firm plans to invest in 15 to 20 companies over the life of the fund, in deals ranging from $10-$30 million.

This fills a traditional gap that existed whereby successful early-stage firms struggled to become highly-valued global players such as Sweden’s Spotify (SPOT.N), which is set to go public in a highly anticipated New York listing in early April.

Its prior funds distinguished themselves with a track record of exiting its investments through sales, valued in the hundreds of millions, to an increasing range of non-traditional buyers.

French start-up bank Compte Nickel sold to BNP (BNPP.PA) Paribas, Germany’s Innogames was acquired by Swedish media player Modern Times Group (MTGb.ST) and Japan’s Recruit (6098.T) bought beauty spa firm Treatwell. Barcelona online classified ads firm Wallapop sold to U.S. based online marketplace Letgo.

Eight Roads said it will focus on a conventional set of tech venture themes - business enterprise, consumer, fintech and healthcare - but each with their own twist.

For example, Hibob, founded in Israel and now based in London, is a human resources management platform for small business that offers benefits, perks, pensions which makes it not just an enterprise software company but a fintech play.

Online furniture company Made.com illustrates its strategy for helping its investments go global by helping a firm designing its own products to become more vertically integrated with Asian or American manufacturers, Hebel said.

The new fund is larger than the combined total of the two funds Eight Roads had previously raised since setting up shop in Europe in 2010, starting with a 100 million pound fund that year and a second, 150 million pound fund in 2015.

Eight Roads, formerly known as Fidelity Growth Partners, is the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International Limited (FIL). It has offices in China, Japan, India, Britain and the United States. The European fund is based in London.

(1 euro = $1.2351)

(1 British pound = $1.4041)

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; Editing by Adrian Croft

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