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Accel raises two funds

Accel Partners defied recessionary concerns, closing on more than $1 billion across two funds. The firm raised $480 million for a late stage growth vehicle and a $525 million pan-European fund.

Like its predecessors, Accel London III will invest in early and growth stage Internet, software, mobile and other communications companies in Europe and Israel.

The growth fund is the bigger leap for Accel, which has been an early stage investor since swinging open its doors 25 years ago. Accel Partner Richard Wong says that the growth fund will back between 20 and 30 companies, and he says that the investing team will largely remain the same.

“I spend lots of time on mobile technologies and SAS software,” Wong says. “I see lots of opportunities in early stage companies, but I’m also seeing a lot of late stage and growth stage opportunities. Our partners already have the ecosystem in those domains, so we’ll remain the leads.”

Perhaps the most surprising element to Accel’s newest funds was their timing. Wong says that Accel began fund-raising for both in mid-October, meaning they took just two months to raise during difficult economic times. “We had been talking to our executive advisory board and our close LPs, and received feedback that there was lots of support for both of the new funds,” Wong says. Though “certain LPs, given the denominator effect, had to think about it, [the firm] felt that the support was there with our core LP base.”

Wong adds that there “are going to be some additional staff for the growth fund,” who will serve as “resources around deal sourcing, deal analysis and those sorts of things.”

Including Wong, Accel’s 10 lead investors are Andrew Braccia, Jim Breyer, Kevin Efrusy, Sameer Gandhi, Ping Li, Arthur Patterson, Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, Jim Swartz, Peter Wagner.