Balderton on target for US$500m

London-based venture capital firm Balderton Capital has raised US$430m for the first closing of its fourth fund, and the first since its independence from US VC Benchmark Capital.

The fund was launched in 2008 and aims to raise US$500m, down from the US$550m it raised in December 2006 for its previous fund.

This new sum means Balderton now manages approximately US$1.8bn, making it one of the largest venture houses outside of the US.

Balderton IV will continue to follow the firm’s investment strategy, giving it an investment range of between US$100,000 to over US$50m, although the typical initial investment in a business is between US$1m andUS$15m – on average it invest US$15m over the lifecycle of a company.

The firm is technology-focused, backing companies that specialise in enterprise software and services, communications and security, semiconductors, mobile computing, consumer services, plus media and financial services.

Barry Maloney, general partner at Balderton, said: “This is a great start for the year for Balderton in what is clearly a difficult economic environment. Our first fund was completed at the height of the dot com bust and we went on to invest in some of the strongest companies in our portfolio today. Each economic cycle provides opportunities for the best entrepreneurs and we are excited to be able to invest in tomorrow’s success stories in this our fourth fund.”

Notable investments include bebo – the social networking site, sold to AOL for US$850m – Betfair – the online betting exchange – Codemasters (the video games publisher) – MySQL – the open-source database business sold to Sun for US$1bn – and Setanta Sports the European sports broadcaster.