Pond II exceeds target

Following the success of its first fund, UK-based Pond Venture Partners Ltd has announced the closing of Pond Ventures II, heavily oversubscribed at $78 million. Pond had set an original target of $60 million. London-based partner Charles Irving stated that Pond could have easily taken the fund to the $100 million mark, but the company purposely capped it, in line with a philosophy that prefers to limit the size of funds in order to give a greater focus to each investment. Investments will be made within the next 18 to 24 months, focusing on early-stage technology companies in Europe. Pond II anticipates investing in 10 companies, with a maximum total commitment of around $8 million, starting with $5 million in the first round. It is expected that half of the fund will be invested in the UK and Ireland and half in the rest of Europe, but Irving added that the reality might be completely different, depending on the deals that arise.

Two thirds of the fund was raised from original investors and the remaining third came from private institutions in the US, Germany, Italy and Finland. An international approach from investors is crucial to the company’s philosophy and Irving stresses that it is not possible to successfully invest in core technology companies unless the focus is global. The company also has partners based in offices worldwide. Richard Irving is based in Silicon Valley in the US, George Hara divides his time between the Tokyo and San Francisco offices, and Rolf Westfal-Larsen travels between the London and Scandinavian offices.

Pond Ventures II is in the process of completing its first investment and already has another two in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Pond’s earlier fund has achieved its first portfolio company exit, from Microcosm Communications. The UK-based supplier of high-speed integrated circuits for fibre optic communications was acquired in January by Conexant Systems, Inc, an independent company focusing on semiconductor products