Balderton Raises $680 Million Growth Fund To Help European Tech Compete Globally
The London-based VC’s new growth fund aims to fill a gap for growth stage funding for British and European startups to help them compete on a global stage. The fund aims to invest $25 million to $50 million in British and European startups that would in the past have turned to Silicon Valley for investment, acquisition, or a listing in the United States.
The fund will be managed by Balderton managing partner Bernard Liautaud and general partners Rana Yared, David Thévenon, and aims to invest in around 15 companies as many of the startups in the VC’s portfolio like Revolut, Vestiaire Collective and GoCardless reach billion dollar valuations.
“We haven’t had that many successes with European companies. We didn’t have the deal flow, we didn’t have entrepreneurs who had the ambition to grow big and a number of companies either didn’t develop or they got picked up by American companies early on,” said Liautaud. “There was less of an opportunity to build a great late-stage firm but now the European ecosystem has changed dramatically in the last five years.”
That period has seen investors clamouring to invest in early stage startups iin booming tech hotspots across the continent but just 21% of those companies have gone onto raise a Series B round, according to data from Dealroom. “Our move into the growth fund coincides with a very clear maturing of the ecosystem and a realisation among European companies that they can be global winners from Europe without having to default to seeking growth capital in the US,” said Yared.
Several of Balderton’s British and European investments have recently listed or been acquired. While Darktrace and The Hut Group listed on the London Stock Exchange the Generation-Z favorite fashion reselling app Depop was snapped up by Etsy for $1.6 billion. The deal marked a major windfall for Balderton and but also represents the type of company that could have grown into becoming a global contender with the right backing. “I think it’s always a question for companies doing great: do you continue to become a public entity, or stop early,” said Liautaud.
While Depop may have cashed out early several European startups that are already competing on a global stage have already raised significant late-stage rounds. Swedish buy now, pay later startup Klarna raised $1 billion in March as a stepping stone to its rumored Nasdaq listing, while Romanian’s Uipath raised $750 million in February, and Spanish delivery startup Glovo raised $530 million in March.
Balderton first branched out from VC funding in October 2018 with the launch of a liquidity fund to buy shares from investors, and founders, in growth-stage companies.
I joined Forbes as the European News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and
I joined Forbes as the European News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Forbes, I worked for the news agency Storyful as its Asia Editor working from its Hong Kong bureau, and as a Senior Editor in London, where I reported on breaking news stories from around the world, with a special focus on how misinformation and disinformation spreads on social media platforms. I started my career in London as a financial journalist with Citywire and my work has appeared in the BBC, Sunday Times, and many more UK publications. Email me story ideas, or tips, to [email protected], or Twitter @_iainmartin.