– Benchmark completes European fund raising

Benchmark Capital, a Silicon Valley-based early-stage high-tech venture capital firm, has closed Benchmark Europe I at $750 million (EURO800.34 million). Benchmark Europe I is dedicated to investing in the European technology market and includes investors such as Ariba, Be, eBay, Loudcloud, Phone.com and Scient. The fund exceeded its original target of $500 million and the expectation is that delivering Silicon Valley-style investment principles direct to the European market – via the firm’s London office – will attract a high calibre of investment proposals. To date the most notable employer of Silicon Valley-style investment strategy, (i.e., hands on, team-orientated) is London-based Amadeus Capital Partners, which has just raised its second fund – see earlier story this issue.

Benchmark Europe I investment strategy will be to focus on early-stage investing in technology firms that seek to create new markets in areas where the partners have direct experience. These areas include application services, consumer devices, eCommerce (B2B, B2C, C2C), infrastructure services, networking equipment, semiconductors, and software.

The $750 million close for a first European fund looks ambitious bearing in mind that the total committed venture capital of Benchmark Capital, since the firm’s inception in 1995, is barely double that sum (currently over $1.4 billion.) Benchmark’s US offices are in Menlo Park.