Balderton Capital unveils $680m early-growth fund in Europe

10 Jun 2021

Balderton Capital's management team. Image: Balderton Capital

After 20 years of investing in European start-ups, the firm will now be deploying capital in this new growth segment.

Investment firm Balderton Capital has announced a new $680m fund for backing early-growth companies in Europe.

The firm, through its various funds, backs companies at the seed and Series A stages but has stepped into growth investing through its Liquidity I fund. Its portfolio of investments has included Darktrace, Revolut, Depop and GoCardless in recent years, while in its early days it was the only venture backer of Bebo.

Now Balderton is turning its attention to companies in the early stages of growth with this new $680m fund, as deals in Europe in the range between $5m and $50m ramp up.

According to the firm, Europe has significantly narrowed the gaps between it and the US when it comes to these types of deals.

It expects to invest between $25m and $50m per company, backing around 15 companies in total. The firm has not disclosed the names of any of the backers of the fund.

“I’ve been an investor at Balderton since 2008, and it has been incredible to see the increasing number of ambitious European founders, and to be able to support them financially through those critical first three to five years with our early-stage funds,” managing partner Bernard Liautaud said.

“With this Growth Fund, we can now support them as they scale to become global industry leaders. We predict a $50bn growth opportunity in Europe in the next three years alone, and we want to be the first choice for those ambitious founders.”

Liautaud along with general partners David Thévenon and Rana Yared will lead the fund. The firm has 23 investors across its offices in London, Berlin, Paris and Stockholm.

“Our partners are a mixture of financiers, tech operators and founders themselves, and together we have a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of scaling globally from the continent,” Thévenon said.

“This fund will allow us to expand our support, not only to our existing portfolio but also to Europe’s most promising future global leaders.”

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a frenzy of VCs investing in tech companies as part of bumper funding rounds, all in a bid to catch the next big thing. Recent figures from Pitchbook showed that the valuations of VC-backed companies in Europe soared in the first quarter of the year.

Since early 2020, Balderton has added 22 new companies to its portfolio. Most recently it led the $19m Series A round for Denmark’s Forecast and participated in ComplyAdvantage’s $70m raise.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin