Balderton Capital announced today it has closed its sixth fund, which the London-based firm said it will use to expand its commitment to backing young European companies.
“It reflects the increasing opportunity we see in Europe,” said Bernard Liautaud, managing partner of Balderton. “There’s been a huge change in the past decade in the landscape. We have entrepreneurs who are much more ambitious.”
The announcement from Balderton comes as European venture funds continue to see growing momentum. According to venture industry trade group Invest Europe, venture capital funds raised $7.6 billion in 2016, the most since 2007.
But Balderton’s new fund reflects another trend: the growing influence of Europe’s largest venture firms. Invest Europe said that in 2016, the increased venture fundraising was driven by large funds that were raised by a smaller number of firms. According to its data, 13 out of 45 venture funds topped $120 million, which accounted for 80 percent of all money raised.
Over the past decade, Balderton has certainly played a key role in the emerging European venture scene, currently managing $2.6 billion in assets. The firm focuses on series A funding. It continues to offer follow-on funding but lets other firms take the lead.
Balderton was originally created as the European arm of Benchmark, where it raised three funds. Today’s announcement marks the third fund since Balderton spun out on its own. Over the course of that history, Balderton has scored some big wins, including backing MySQL, Betfair, The Hut Group, Yoox, and Net-a-Porter. One of its biggest recent exits was Talend, the data analytics company that went public in 2016.
Liautaud noted that in just the past year, its portfolio companies raised $850 million in follow-on funding.
“These are companies that are in good health, and they are doing well, and they are attracting outside capital,” he said.
The new fund includes current investors and new ones from Europe, the U.S., and Asia. The fund size tops the $305 million it had raised for its fifth fund. With an increase to seven partners, Liautaud said the firm has more bandwidth to scour Europe for startups and help guide them as they scale up.
“We have a partnership that has now worked together for many years,” he said. “And we have a track record. So when we look at the performance and the quality of the companies that were in the prior funds, it gives investors a lot of confidence.”