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Hoxton Ventures announced today a $40 million fund that will focus investments on early-stage tech companies in Europe. Founding partners Hussein Kanji and Rob Kniaz – who have worked at VC firms Accel Partners and Fidelity Ventures respectively – want to bring the “US microcap venture investing model to Europe”.

“In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a gap emerge in the early stage European market. It is difficult for entrepreneurs to raise their first £1-2m. Too many European investors prefer to wait for businesses to mature,” said Kanji. ”We are very happy to be contrarian investors concentrating on European entrepreneurs. We think this is a poorly served geography.”

It’s nothing we haven’t heard before. A couple of months ago at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, a panel of notable investors – including Dave McClure (500 Startups), Saul Klein (Index Ventures), and Sonali De Rycker (Accel Partners) among others – talked about (the lack of) funding in Europe and shared a similar sentiment. The general consensus? While the European VC scene still has some ways to go in order to catch up to Silicon Valley, investors are beginning to take the region more seriously.

“We focus on making sure our companies are well connected in Silicon Valley,” said Kniaz. “For example, we recently invested in Campanja in Sweden, a startup building on top of Google’s ad platform. We convinced Ram Shriram, a board director of Google, who was also one of its earliest angel investors, to co-invest with us. It was his first European investment.”
Based in London, Hoxton plans to make four to six investments per year and hopes that its investments will eventually become part of the US tech ecosystem. The founding partner-duo have invested in Llustre, which was acquired by Fab last summer.

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This story originally appeared on VentureVillage. Copyright 2013


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