London, 3 October 2018 (00.01 GMT) -- Balderton Capital, Europe’s largest early-stage venture capital investor, announces today that it has raised a new $145m fund dedicated to buying equity stakes from early shareholders in European-founded, high growth, scale-up technology companies.
Called Balderton Liquidity I, this fund will typically invest in European founded growth stage companies where early shareholders wish to obtain pre-exit liquidity. Balderton will take minority stakes, between regular fund-raising rounds, making it possible for early shareholders - including angels, seed funds, current and former founders and employees - to realise early returns, reinvest capital in the ecosystem, or reward founders and early employees.
A first for Europe, the launch of Liquidity I is indicative of the maturing European tech ecosystem, which has seen extraordinary growth and strong venture capital investment in recent years. Venture funds of this type have been common in Silicon Valley for more than a decade. However, while the acquisition of early shareholder stakes does take place in Europe on an ad hoc basis, no specialist venture vehicle for them currently exists.
Today there are over 500 companies in Europe which have raised more than $20m over the last decade. Balderton conservatively estimates the total value of early shareholder stakes in these companies is at least $4bn, in both the consumer and enterprise sectors, with potentially hundreds of early shareholders wishing to free up capital to realise returns, reinvest, reward employees and founders, or launch new technology startups.