European Fund Briefs, June 2010

Conor Ventures Holds €46.5M First Close

Finnish-based Conor Venture Partners has held a first close on €46.5 million for its second early stage venture capital fund, Conor Technology Fund II.

Following the same focus as its predecessor fund, Conor’s new fund will target early stage technology companies in the Nordic and Baltic regions. It will invest approximately €3 million to €6 million in each deal.

The fund’s investors include the European Investment Fund (EIF), Finnish Industry Investment (FII), Etera Mutual Pension Insurance Co., Veritas Pension Insurance Co., Atine Investment Partners and FoF Growth, which is managed by FII.

Conor Ventures Fund II is expected to hold a final close by the end of the year and is currently ahead of its target.

“We are very proud to announce our second fund at a size well above its original first closing target,” Managing Partner Jari Mieskonen said in a prepared statement. “While working on final closing of the new fund by the end of the year, we look forward to continue investing in great Nordic and Baltic companies, such as Imbera, Supponor and Eniram in our first fund.”

Mieskonen added: “The technology focus of the new fund remains unchanged, while its geographic reach will be slightly wider. We are looking for world-class initiatives to be grown into global success stories. The strong initial investor pool gives wide grounding to build it up to final closing.” —Aimee Donnellan

TTP Ventures Nears Final Close

TTP Ventures, a VC house specialising in cleantech and IT investments, is preparing to close its £30 million Enterprise Capital Fund. The fund is aimed at providing funding to the mid-market of venture capital, which it says is currently underfunded as firms focus on early and later stage companies.

The British venture capital firm launched its first fund, a £34m vehicle, in 1999 and it has successfully sold three of its portfolio companies: Element 14 (which sold for $250 million), Alphamosaic ($123 million), and Oxford Diffraction ($37 million), according to its website.

Most recently, TTP sold part of Argenta Discovery in February in a deal valued at $26 million. TTP Ventures, based in Melbourn village near Cambridge, is part of TTP Group, a European technology development and licensing company. That relationship “gives us access to the wide range of experience and contacts of TTP’s engineers and scientists,” the venture firm says on its website. —Aimee Donnellan

Investec Launches First VCT

Investec Structured Products has raised £3.8 million for its first ever Venture Capital Trust (VCT).

Investec is partnering with low-tax specialist Calculus Capital, which will be responsible for investments in venture capital.

Gary Dale, head of intermediary sales at Investec Structured Products, said he was disappointed by how little capital was raised, but he is pleased that the group has achieved its goal of expanding its investors base, according to a report in IFAonline.

“Preferably, we would have like to have raised more, but we launched at the beginning of March and so we were unable to get much momentum as most advisers had already given their tax advice,” he told IFAonline. —Aimee Donnellan Acton Wraps up Debut Fund

Acton Capital Partners has closed its debut fund with about $180 million in capital commitments.

The Munich-based growth equity firm is focused on “Internet and mobile-based consumer-oriented businesses,” according to its website. Its team previously ran the corporate VC unit of Hubert Burda Media.

Index Launches Seed Fund

Famous for its backing of internet phone company Skype, London-headquartered Index Ventures has set up a new seed fund that will allow the venture firm to invest in companies at an earlier stage.

Teaming up with The Accelerator Group (TAG), Index will use capital from its $440 million fund, which was raised in 2009 and allocate the money into a new area called Seed Index. It will make 20 early stage investments ranging from $50,000 to $1 million over the next two years. The fund will have a similar structure to Index Growth which was announced in 2008.

In response to the many comments and questions Index has received on its blog, seed applicants have been asked to get in contact with Index through email: —Aimee Donnellan

(For more detail on Index’s seed effort, see our story in the VCJ Europe News Analysis section.—Ed.)