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  • By Alex Derber, VCJ Correspondent

    Fidelity International Limited has been active in European VC since before the first dot-com boom, but waited until 2010 to launch a $150 million fund dedicated to the […]

  • Fidelity International Limited has been active in European VC since before the first dot-com boom, but waited until 2010 to launch a $150 million fund dedicated to the region.

    With Fidelity International Limited’s proprietary investment activities now consolidated under its new Eight Roads name, a second, $250 million technology fund has just been signed off for Europe.

     

    [caption id="attachment_347101" align="alignleft" width="205"]Davor Hebel.Web version Davor Hebel, partner, Eight Roads[/caption]

    “European venture was viewed as a poor asset class, but we believed with our first fund that there was more to Europe than met the eye, and over time others have come round to that view,” said Davor Hebel, a partner at Eight Roads, previously known as Fidelity Growth Partners Europe.

    London-based Eight Roads retains its predecessor’s focus on Series B, Series C and expansion-stage deals, with its current portfolio derived fairly evenly from late-stage venture and growth equity transactions.

    Whereas Fund I targeted consumer and enterprise tech companies, its successor aims to make fintech a third pillar of competence.

    Hebel also confesses to a budding interest in industrial technologies.

    Eight Roads’ sweet spot for venture remains at about $5 million, though the firm is prepared to write checks under $1 million and go up to $25 million for growth equity deals.

    A case in point was Fund II’s maiden investment in July, when Eight Roads participated in a $60 million growth round for furniture seller Made.com.

    Two other, as yet undisclosed deals have been finalized since then.

    A feature of European VC has been the growing involvement of American funds, especially in the later rounds.

    In January, for instance, Andreessen Horowitz led a $58 million financing of British fintech company Transferwise. The round also included European investors Index Ventures and Firestartr, among others. Hebel notes that more than half the funding for London tech businesses like Transferwise last year is thought to have come from the United States.

    Still, Hebel welcomes more involvement in European VC to help it mature.

    “We need more VCs, more entrepreneurs, and more executives who can actually scale companies past that first stage,” he said.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly connected Eight Roads with Boston-based Fidelity Investments. Eight Roads invests the capital of Fidelity International Limited, which has no footprint in the United States and is a separate business.

    This story was written by Alex Derber, a U.K.-based contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].

    This story first appeared in affiliate magazine Venture Capital Journal, which is published by Buyouts Insider. Subscribers can read the full story by clicking here. To subscribe to VCJ, click here for the Marketplace.

    Photo illustration by Shutterstock.

  • Home to barely two dozen venture funds, Australia trails most other countries when it comes to VC.

    And with the lion’s share of Aussie venture dollars going into early-stage startups, a late-stage investor like Blue Sky Venture Capital is a rare beast indeed.

    But the Brisbane-based firm recently reached a A$15 million ($11 million) first close for its sophomore fund, a small amount by most standards, and one that underlines the immaturity as well as the opportunity of the asset class down under.

    [caption id="attachment_344474" align="alignleft" width="200"]Elaine Stead, investment director, Blue Sky Venture Capital Elaine Stead, investment director, Blue Sky Venture Capital[/caption]

    “Without sufficient scale, the sector is unable to invest in enough companies or provide sufficient capital for companies to get to key value inflection points,” said Elaine Stead, investment director of Blue Sky VC, part of the Blue Sky investment group.

    With this in mind, Blue Sky hopes that by the final close, the fund will be triple the size of its 2012-vintage, A$10 million debut fund to help deepen its investments per company from A$3 million ($2.2 million) up to a maximum of A$10 million ($7.5 million).

    Initial investments will range from A$1 million to A$3 million ($750,000 to $2.2 million).

    While commitments so far have been solely from Australian family offices and individuals, Stead said she hopes that a government visa program for investors in Australian VC funds will secure foreign LPs to push Fund II to its A$30 million target ($23 million).

    An added incentive, she believes, is Blue Sky’s industry-agnostic approach, which looks at a wider deal flow than most Australian firms, which tend to focus on IT and biotech.

    “We have seen great opportunities in the agriculture, high- and low-tech food, and consumer products sectors that find venture capital challenging with the traditional approach in Australia,” Stead said.

    In 2014, more than 80 percent of local capital went into early-stage companies, according to the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, which reports that only 26 active fund managers in Australia are investing in venture deals.

    For later-stage deals, Stead said that there is a shortage of capital, perhaps because Australia lacks the many foreign investors that characterize the late-stage venture scene in Europe.

    Stead said that this is somewhat surprising. Australia has poured money into research and development over the past 15 years, a higher proportion of its workers are in science and tech jobs than compared to the United States, and valuations are low by U.S. standards,

    Blue Sky has a short investment horizon of two to four years, by which time Fund II’s portfolio should number between five to eight businesses.

    The first of these is online delivery network provider ParcelPoint, for which Blue Sky led a A$7 million ($5.2 million) round earlier this year.

    This story was written by Alex Derber, a U.K.-based contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].

    This story first appeared in affiliate magazine Venture Capital Journal, which is published by Buyouts Insider. Subscribers can read the full story by clicking here. To subscribe to VCJ, click here for the Marketplace.

    Photo illustration by Shutterstock.

  • Idinvest Partners, an investor in Dailymotion, Criteo and Deezer, recently finalized its second digital fund at €140 million ($158 million), almost three times the size of its predecessor.

    Apropos for a Paris-based firm that spun out of a German insurance company, Idinvest has a pan-European remit, although at least half of the new fund will be deployed in France.

    Series A and B deals of €3 million to €6 million ($3.5 million to $7 million) are the firm’s sweet spot, but at least a third of the fund is earmarked for smaller seed and larger growth tickets. And Idinvest augments its firepower through its retail (FCPI) funds, which will invest alongside Idinvest Digital II.

    Secondary, debt, co-investment and other venture funds comprise the rest of Idinvest’s €5 billion ($5.5 billion) under management, but within digital venture it focuses on Web-based, media, mobile, ecommerce, and software businesses.

    Ten companies have been added to the new fund’s portfolio since its first close in 2013. Idinvest counts two family offices, two corporates and several institutional investors as LPs in the new fund.

    Alongside French state body bpifrance, LPs include a sovereign fund from the Spanish region of Catalonia, which is quite a coup for a French firm.

    “We’d made two investments in Catalonia, but there aren’t many VCs over there so the sovereign fund went with us because they want to promote venture in their region,” said Benoist Grossmann, managing partner of Idinvest.

    Closer to home, the firm capitalized on the relationship it had built with such companies as Total, Michelin, EDF and Orange in separate healthcare, mobility and cleantech funds to attract further corporate backing from Lagardère Group and Up Group, which committed €10 million ($11 million) each.

    A win for Grossmann has been ad-tech developer Criteo, which Idinvest took from a seed investment in 2003 to a $250 million IPO on Nasdaq a decade later.

    That exit and several others mean that Idinvest expects to return 3x to 4x the capital in its first digital fund, and Grossmann is confident that LPs in other European digital funds will receive similar rewards.

    “Within two to three years, many of the VC funds that have been raised within the last five years will be returning a lot of money to investors,” he said.

    This story was written by Alex Derber, a U.K.-based contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].

    This story first appeared in affiliate magazine Venture Capital Journal, which is published by Buyouts Insider. Subscribers can read the full story by clicking here. To subscribe to VCJ, click here for the Marketplace.

    Photo of Idinvest CEO Christophe Bavière (left) and Managing Partner Benoist Grossmann courtesy of Idinvest Partners.

  • If Formation 8 Partners had a theme song, it might be Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”

    Since inception, partners at the San Francisco-based tech-focused venture firm have done things their own way, whether it be […]

  • Venture Capital Journal changed their profile picture 3 years, 3 months ago

  • Venture Capital Journal changed their profile picture 3 years, 3 months ago

  • Venture Capital Journal changed their profile picture 3 years, 3 months ago

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    The satellites, small […]

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    Now the fever is spreading to the enterprise, affiliate […]

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    It’s a sentiment that venture […]

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    San Francisco Bay Area coffee chain Philz Coffee recently raised eight figures (reportedly between $15 million […]

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    An increasing number of firms are turning to algorithms to comb through tons of data to dig out the deals that will result in the big […]

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    By 2030, one in five Americans, or 72 million people, will have reached retirement age, […]

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    With so much interest in the wearable category, VCJ […]

  • ThumbnailA little more than a month ago, Hercules Technology Growth Capital kicked off a major business expansion by adding five new managing directors, one principal and a New York office.

    This provider of venture debt […]

  • ThumbnailThe past eight months may have signaled a turning point for wearables investing, sister publication VCJ reported.

    Money has begun to flow and interest has exploded as investors pan for gold on the leading edge […]

  • Javelin Venture Partners has raised $125 million for its third fund, up from the $105 million it raised for Fund II, Vatornews reported.

    The seed and early-stage venture firm, founded in 2008 by Jed Katz and […]

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