A newly established European venture firm, Atlantic Bridge Ventures, has announced the launch and first close of its new pan-European technology fund, ABVEN I, on €50 million ($63 million).
Prior to going out of business, the trio’s short-lived former vehicle, Abbey Road, had sought to pursue a dual strategy of investing in both early and later stage growth business, and had been marketing separate funds for each activity.
In December 2004, according to a source close to the firm, the firm came close to securing the acquisition of the corporate venture capital portfolio of semiconductor maker Infineon Technologies. However, Abbey Road lost out when the assets were sold to rival Cipio Partners, and the firm was subsequently wound down.
Long, Harvey and Dillon then launched Atlantic Bridge with a view to exclusively focusing on early and mid stage investing. Hitesh Mehta, the fourth former Abbey Road partner, left the group and joined London-based IDG Ventures in April.
According to Dublin-based Atlantic Bridge partner Brian Long, the new fund “attracted a very positive response” from investors. ABVEN I included a commitment from International Investment & Underwriting (IIU), the investment vehicle of Dermot Desmond, the majority shareholder in Glasgow Celtic football club.
The firm, which has offices in Dublin and London, expects to hold a second close of the fund later in the year, Long said. He declined to give details of any final target size.
The firm will target seed, early and mid-stage investments in European semiconductor, enterprise software and mobile technology companies with a view to bringing them to the US market.
To accomplish this, the firm has signed up a number of globally based venture
Long said: “Investors were very excited about the team, the depth and breadth of expertise of our partners and the strong operational know-how we can draw on – ours is a different VC fund.”
Atlantic Bridge could be entering the market at a propitious time – according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, venture-capital investment into European companies reached €880 million in the first quarter of 2005 — a 19 percent increase over the amount invested in the first quarter of 2004.