indexventures.jpgIndex Ventures, one of Europe’s high-profile venture capital firms, had raised €400 million fund for investing in companies that are more mature than start-ups.

It is the London-based firm’s first so-called “growth fund,” and follows the move by several other investors, including Sequoia Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Ignition Partners to focus on later stage opportunities. Index will use the money for both technology and life science companies, but retail and clean-tech companies will also be considered.

So far, Index has been known for backing companies such as Skype, MySQL and Last.FM very early in their development — all companies that yielded significant returns after being bought.

vidal.jpgThe new fund, which will complement the firm’s investments into seed companies, will earmark between €20 million and €50 million for each of the investments. The backed companies will be European, though could also be Eastern Europe orU.S. companies planning to expand in Europe.

In a statement the firm sent out over the weekend, Index said it has hired two new partners to help Index partner Guiseppe Zocco with the new effort: Dominique Vidal (pictured here), former chief executive of Yahoo Europe and co-founder of Kelkoo; and Guido Magni, former head of medical science in the pharma division of F. Hoffman-La Roche, who will work on health care deals.