The third largest site of its kind behind Facebook and MySpace,
Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO of
For Balderton, the sale of Bebo represents the end of a 22-month investment. The firm, then known as Benchmark Capital Europe, invested US$15m in the company’s one and only funding round in May 2006. Balderton is the only institutional investor in Bebo.
Barry Maloney, a GP at the firm and of Bebo since the original investment, said: “We got involved in an exciting and competitive investment in Bebo because we believed in the social networking space and the fact that Bebo was positioned for exponential growth. Our expectations for Bebo have been exceeded in a relatively short period of time, and today’s transaction with AOL has delivered an exceptional return on our original investment in 2006.”
This sale marks the second major exit for European venture capital this year, and both have come from the portfolios of Balderton. In January, MySQL, the second largest independent open source software company in the world, was for US$1bn by US software giant Sun Microsystems, representing an successful exit for a number of VCs including, aside from Balderton, Index Ventures and Intel Capital.