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Accel quickly raises two new funds

In early December, Accel Partners defied recessionary concerns, closing on more than $1 billion across two funds. The firm raised $480 million for a late stage growth vehicle and a $525 million pan-European fund.

Like its predecessors, Accel London III will invest in early and growth stage Internet, software, mobile and other communications companies in Europe and Israel.

Accel Growth Fund is the bigger leap for Accel, which has been an early stage investor since opening its doors 25 years ago. Accel Partner Richard Wong says the growth fund will back between 20 and 30 companies and that it will largely be invested by the existing team.

“I spend lots of time on mobile technologies and SaaS software,” Wong says. “I see lots of opportunities in early stage companies, but I’m also seeing a lot of late stage and growth stage opportunities. Our partners already have the ecosystem in those domains, so we’ll remain the leads.”

Perhaps the most surprising element to Accel’s newest funds was their timing. Wong says that Accel began fund-raising for both in mid-October, meaning it only two months to raise both of them in the midst of a recession.

Accel has enjoyed a number of exits over the last two years, including initial public offerings from Riverbed Technology and three other companies. The firm reported that it has had nine other exits worth more than $100 million, including Belden Inc.’s $133 million acquisition of wireless local area network startup Trapeze Networks in June. Trapeze had raised $102.4 million from about 10 investors. —Constance Loizos and Dan PrimackDEALWATCH: Five recent investments by Accel Partners

AdMob Inc._Mobile advertising marketplace

Kosmix Corp._Guide for exploring Web by topic

MyThings Inc._Online registry of people’s belongings

Playfish Ltd._Games for social networks

SpringSource Global Inc._Open source software

Note: Investments made between Oct. 13 and Dec. 8, 2008. Sources: Thomson Reuters