A tough year all round for venture capital was punctuated with the occasional glimmer of success, and EVCJ’s winner of the Fund Raising of the Year for Venture was one such glimmer.
London-headquartered Index Ventures firm raised €400m for its first ever growth fund as it sought to take advantage of the increasing number of later stage opportunities emerging as a result of the maturation of Europe’s start-up industry.
“Index has been investing in European start-ups since 1996 so we’ve had front row seats to watch the industry expand and mature,” said Index co-founder Giuseppe Zocco. “There is now a critical mass of companies that have the potential to be market leaders and make a global impact. With the growth fund, we have the ability to find and support these companies, helping them get to the next level.” Zocco is running the fund alongside Dominique Vidal and Guido Magni.
Index Ventures Growth I will be investing larger amounts in larger companies than the firm has previously. It is looking to invest between €20m and €50m in European businesses, the primary focus being on technology and life sciences – other sectors to be considered include media, retail and cleantech. Whilst Western Europe is where the fund expects to be busiest, it will consider internationally-minded companies in Eastern Europe and the US.
Dominique Vidal said: “Our goal with the Index Ventures Growth Fund is to partner with entrepreneurs who have built successful, quickly growing businesses that have reached a stage when they are considering strategic alternatives including being acquired.” said Dominique Vidal. “In many of these cases, investing additional capital and time in the business will result in a much greater long-term payoff and allow the entrepreneur to continue growing his or her company into a market leader.”
The first growth investment came in February when it led an US$80m Series C round in German online advertising company, Adconion Media Group, one of the largest online media venture investments in European history. This was followed up in July with a €22.5m investment in Bestofmedia Group, a French-based company and one of the top three online media publishing companies for technology in the world, with over 25 million unique readers a month. In the same month Index parted with €17m for a stake in Milestone Systems, a Danish developer of surveillance systems software.
The fund made its first biotech investment in early October, part of a US$40m round for Micromet, a US company specialising in the treatment of cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. It rounded off the year by backing German online dating business be2 to the tune of €15m.
Index Ventures Growth I
Kennet Partners III
Warburg Pincus (WPX)
Wellington Partners IV Technology