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European venture capital (VC) firm Earlybird has closed a fresh €175 million ($204 million) fund focused on early-stage “deep tech” startups across Europe.
The fund, dubbed “Digital West,” was announced back in 2016 with a target of €150 million ($175 million), but more than two years later it has finally closed at around 17 percent above its initial goal.
As its name suggests, the Digital West fund targets startups located across Western Europe, from the Nordics all the way down to the Mediterranean, and complements the firm’s $150 million Digital East fund, launched back in 2014, and a separate health tech fund that is expected to close at around €120 million ($140 million).
Berlin-based Earlybird has a previous four funds, dating back to 1998, with exits including Wunderlist creator 6Wunderkinder, which was bought by Microsoft in 2015. Other notable portfolio companies include mobile banking startup N26, which is expected to launch in the U.S. this year, and enterprise bot company UiPath, which recently secured much-coveted unicorn status with its $153 million raise.
Earlybird’s Digital West fund closure comes one week after U.K.-based IQ Capital announced a $165 million fund for early-stage deep tech startups — that is, companies focusing on genuinely disruptive and transformative technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI). While Earlybird will look at startups in the U.K., the fund’s remit will include all the German-speaking countries, the Nordics, Benelux, and France, among other markets.
“We see a steadily growing number of promising deep tech startups in Europe with excellent teams and scalable business models,” noted Earlybird partner Dr. Fabian Heilemann. “With our new Digital West fund, we invest in exactly these kinds of companies.”
A number of other early-stage European funds have come to fruition of late, including DN Capital, which announced a $247 million pot for early-stage startups in Europe and the U.S., and U.K.-based Kindred Capital, which closed its inaugural fund at around $112 million. Seedcamp, the “Y Combinator of Europe,” also closed its fourth fund at $81 million.
It’s not just early-stage startups that VCs are targeting in Europe. Last week, Highland Europe closed a $540 million growth-stage fund.
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