November 27, 2017 / 12:10 AM / a year ago

Balderton Capital completes new $375 million European technology fund

LONDON (Reuters) - Balderton Capital has closed to new investors a new, $375 million fund dedicated to European technology start-ups, marking one of the year’s largest such capital raisings in the region, the company said on Monday.

Known for backing the original start-ups behind companies such as Betfair and Yoox Net-a-Porter, the London-based firm expects to make between 30 and 35 investments with the new fund, Managing Partner Bernard Liautaud said an interview ahead of the announcement. Already Balderton has made 10 investments with the fund, he said. “We very much believe that we will have a Google or Facebook or Amazon from Europe and the next big European company will be a tech company,” Liautaud said. He said sufficient funding, experienced entrepreneurs and a critical mass of talent now exist in European capitals to create world-class firms. “Before there was always something missing, in France, in the UK and in Germany,” Liautaud said.

Liautaud was behind French software success story Business Objects, which he sold a decade ago for $6.8 billion to German business software giant SAP, Europe’s most valuable technology stock. He remains a member of SAP’s supervisory board. The $375 million ranks as Europe’s fourth largest technology -focused venture capital fundraisings in 2017, according to data from venture capital investment data firm Only UK-based Atomico, Germany’s Rocket Internet and France’s Partech Ventures raised bigger funds in the region this year. Among Balderton’s previous triumphs were online gambling exchange Betfair, fashion site Yoox Net-a-Porter and online cosmetics retailer The Hut Group. More recent successes include Nasdaq-listed data analytics company Talend. Balderton Capital’s lead investor said the next world-class companies could emerge from Europe in fields including artificial intelligence, video gaming, music and messaging. “What we still need to develop is entrepreneurs who have the drive to take it all the way - I think we are starting to see that now,” Liautaud said, adding that he now sees European entrepreneurs having “10 times the ambition of a decade ago”. So far Balderton has put early stage funding into start-ups including Zego, a London-based venture which enables so-called “gig economy” workers to buy insurance by the hour. It was set up by two former Deliveroo workers for people like drivers at Uber [UBER.UL], where regular insurance no longer works, Liautaud said. Another is Paris car rentals start-up Virtuo, which lets mobile phone users skip check-in counters and use an app to order and pick up a Mercedes from an airport parking lot. It aims to compete with Europcar and Avis Budget. (1 British pound = $1.3337)

Reporting by Eric AuchardEditing by Greg Mahlich

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