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Balderton targets VC directs with $145m fund

The VC firm, one of Europe's largest, will use the vehicle to make direct secondaries investments in European technology companies.

Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s largest venture capital firms, has raised a $145 million fund to make direct secondaries investments in European technology companies.

Balderton Liquidity I will buy stakes from early-stage investors, such as angel investors, founders and employees, who wish to get pre-exit liquidity, the firm said in a statement. It will target minority stakes in software- and internet-based companies founded in the past decade that have raised more than $20 million.

“While a simple measure, this capital threshold is a good litmus test for the health of a business: those that have passed it tend to have achieved a proven and scalable business model,” the firm wrote in an accompanying blog post.

Around 500 European companies match this criteria, which means there could be more than $4 billion-worth of early shareholder stakes on the market, according to Balderton’s calculations.

Liquidity I took three months to raise from new and existing institutions and family offices from Europe, the US and Asia. Daniel Waterhouse, a former VC and private equity partner at 3i, will lead the fund.

Balderton’s latest flagship venture capital fund raised $375 million by final close in November 2017, according to PEI data. It invests in Series A funding rounds of European companies.

In May, Secondaries Investor wrote that growing numbers of big exits from European VC-backed firms, such as Spotify’s $26.5 billion share offering in April, could have a positive knock-on impact on the secondaries market.

Founded in 2000 as Benchmark Capital Europe, Balderton Capital spun out in 2007. With $2.7 billion in total assets under management, it is the largest early-stage venture capital firm in Europe.