Mangrove branches out with fund III

Mangrove Capital Partners, an early investor in Skype, has raised nearly $169 million from nine U.S.-based investors toward its third fund, according to recent regulatory filings. It is not clear if the fund has held its final close or how much the firm may have raised from European investors.

The firm’s partners did not return requests for comment.

The Luxembourg-based firm is one of the few early stage investors focused on finding innovative technologies in Europe. Other noted early stage investors on the continent include Balderton Capital (f.k.a. Benchmark Europe) and Index Ventures.

Mangrove’s first fund, called New Tech Venture Capital Fund, launched in 2000 and came in at $52.4 million. The firm raised $100 million for its second fund in 2005.

Previous limited partners in the firm’s funds include the European Investment Fund and Konig & Cie., according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week). The LPs of its third fund are not known.

Mangrove focuses on Internet applications and software investments and has had few successes beyond its early investment in Skype, which eBay bought three years ago for $2.6 billion.

Mangrove has sold one other company out of its 29-company portfolio, according to Thomson Reuters. The firm sold its stake in digital security company SecureWave, which had raised $10 million from Mangrove and Index Ventures, to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based startup PatchLink for an undisclosed amount in June 2007.

The firm has increased the amount it invests in each company, according to Thomson Reuters. It put nearly $20 million in five companies so far this year, a dramatic increase from the $6.3 million it invested in 11 companies in 2006. The trend toward bigger rounds may be the product of Mangrove’s early stage investments moving into later rounds. It co-invested with Index Ventures in video speed-dating company WooMe’s $12.5 million Series B in June, for example. WooMe has offices in London and San Francisco.

In February, Mangrove participated in London-based fan-to-fan ticket exchange provider Seatwave’s $24 million Series C round. Co-investors in the round included Atlas Ventures and Fidelity Ventures, both of Boston, and Adinvest from Switzerland.

The data may not offer the full picture however, as many of Mangrove’s deals are done in stealth mode. One such investment, made public in May, is EnterMedia, a Moscow-based in-game advertising startup which received an undisclosed amount from Mangrove and ABRT Fund.