Balderton Capital expands, launching $680M ‘early growth’ fund to invest in future tech giants born in Europe
- After two decades as one of the leading European Series A venture firms, Balderton is building on the success of its Liquidity Fund and is now expanding to primary growth investing
- With this new fund, Balderton is now actively deploying over $1bn in Europe’s break out companies
- Balderton Growth I will target 15 or so exceptional companies at the early-growth stage and is sector-agnostic
- Balderton expects to invest between $25m and $50m per company through both primary and secondary investments
- Bernard Liautaud, David Thévenon and Rana Yared will lead the fund, with support from the firm’s equal partnership
- Since its founding in 2000, Balderton has raised $4bn to invest in European startups and backed more than 230 companies
LONDON, 10 JUNE 2021
Two decades in European tech
After more than 20 years focused on backing Europe’s most ambitious early-stage founders, Balderton Capital is launching a dedicated growth fund to extend its support to European founders scaling the next global tech giants.
While this is the first time the firm has expanded to a completely new stage of primary investing, Balderton already holds one of the largest growth stage portfolios in Europe, having backed some of Europe’s most successful startups from a very early stage. The firm invested at Seed or Series A in global leaders Aircall, ComplyAdvantage, Contentful, Depop, GoCardless, Infarm, Labster, Revolut, THG, Vestiaire Collective and Zego. The firm’s Liquidity I portfolio also includes some of Europe’s leading growth companies, such as Darktrace, Flywire, Graphcore and Truecaller.
Balderton predicts a formidable increase in the European growth stage opportunity
Balderton sees an unprecedented opportunity for growth stage investing in Europe. Along with a maturing technology ecosystem, market disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has favoured innovation. The number of deals between $5m and $50m in Europe has been growing steadily year-on-year, with deal counts in those ranges now accelerating faster than in the US. Ten years ago, the US was doing five times the number of venture deals compared to Europe. Today that ratio has more than halved. All indications point to more high quality European companies reaching a stage of maturity where they need experienced European growth capital.
“I’ve been an investor at Balderton since 2008, and it has been incredible to see the increasing number of ambitious European founders, and to be able to support them financially through those critical first three to five years with our early stage funds. With this Growth Fund, we can now support them as they scale to become global industry leaders. We predict a $50 billion growth opportunity in Europe in the next three years alone, and we want to be the first choice for those ambitious founders,” said Bernard Liautaud, Managing Partner.
The fund will target exceptional companies at the early-growth stage and is sector-agnostic. Balderton expects to invest between $25m and $50m per company through both primary and secondary investments.
Rana Yared, General Partner, adds:
“Our approach for this fund will be ‘one of few’. This means personalised attention from the entire partnership, plus access to Balderton’s leading platform team. We’re looking for fifteen or so really exceptional companies that have the potential to be sector leaders and disrupt global industries. ”
World-class growth team
Balderton Growth I will be led by a world-class team of experienced investor operators: Balderton’s Managing Partner, Bernard Liautaud; General Partner David Thévenon, previously at Google and Softbank; and General Partner Rana Yared, previously at Goldman Sachs. This team brings exceptional experience to share with Founders, having been on the board of global giants across Europe, Asia and the US, including Grab, SoFi, Lemonade, Talend, THG, Tradeweb and Unqork.
Balderton’s Growth team will also be supported by the firm’s equal Partnership. Balderton’s Partners are equally vested in every Portfolio company’s success, and all Founders benefit from access to the full team’s experience and support.
Portfolio leadership teams will also have access to Balderton’s wider team, which has now grown to over 50, including functional specialists in marketing, talent, legal and finance, and 23 investors across key European hubs including London, Berlin, Paris and Stockholm.
David Thévenon, General Partner at Balderton said:
“We have been lucky enough to have spent the past two decades deeply embedded in the European tech ecosystem, working with hundreds of extraordinary founders. Our partners are a mixture of financiers, tech operators and founders themselves, and together we have a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of scaling globally from the continent. This fund will allow us to expand our support, not only to our existing portfolio but also to Europe’s most promising future global leaders.”
Building on momentum
This fund follows Balderton’s launch of Europe’s first dedicated secondary fund, Liquidity I in 2018, and the firm’s seventh Series A fund in 2019, and it comes after a record year for both Balderton and its portfolio.
In the 18 months since January 2020, 22 new companies have joined the Balderton portfolio, and the firm has made over 45 follow-on investments. There have been three IPOs, with THG in 2020, (the second most valuable technology IPO in Europe); Darktrace in 2021; and Flywire in 2021. The firm has also seen eleven portfolio exits since January 2020, including Digital Surgery’s acquisition by Medtronic, Peakon’s acquisition by Workday and Depop’s acquisition by Etsy.
In addition, companies in the Balderton portfolio have themselves raised more than $5bn since January 2020 to fuel growth, of which close to $1.7bn has been since the beginning of 2021. The portfolio now employs over 25,000 staff in over 50 countries around the world.
About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is Europe’s leading venture firm focused exclusively on backing the best European-founded technology companies. In the two decades since its founding, Balderton has worked with hundreds of extraordinary European founders, and has raised 4$bn across nine funds. Previous exited investments include Betfair (FTSE: BET), Depop (Etsy), Digital Surgery (Medtronic), Frontier Car Group (OLX Group), Magic Pony (Twitter), NaturalMotion (Zynga), Peakon (Workday), Recorded Future (Insight Partners), Sunrise (Microsoft), Talend (NASDAQ: TLND) and Yoox Net-a-Porter (BIT: YNAP). Balderton’s current portfolio includes: Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Contentful, ComplyAdvantage, Darktrace (LON: DARK), Flywire (NASDAQ: FLYW), GoCardless, Graphcore, Infarm, Kobalt Music, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, Revolut, SOPHiA Genetics, Tessian, THG (LON: THG), VanMoof, Vestiaire Collective, Vivino and Zego.