Allen joins Balderton in backing Scytl

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's firm is ploughing £40m into the Spanish voting software company.

Vulcan Capital, the investment group that manages the fortune of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has made a $40 million investment in Spanish election software business Scytl.

Further financial details – including valuation – were not disclosed. Scytl's existing venture backers include Balderton Capital, a UK VC firm that first backed the business on 2010, plus Spanish groups Nauta Capital and Spinnaker.

Founded in 2001, Scytl provides a software platform that spans all aspects of the election process, from registration, to online voting, to real-time reporting. Its technology has been used in over 10,000 elections in more than 35 countries, although it has attracted some controversy, particularly in the US, due to security and privacy concerns.

The company says it has been profitable since 2006 and is growing revenues at an average rate of 70 percent year-on-year.

US group Vulcan is making the investment from its new Silicon Valley-based growth equity fund, which invests between $10 million and $100 million in “transformational” internet and technology business. Abhishek Agrawal, a former General Atlantic dealmaker who leads the firm's growth team out of Palo Alto, will join the Scytl board following the investment.

Balderton recently closed a new fund with commitments of $305 million. The fund, which has been seen in some quarters as an illustration of recovering investor sentiment towards venture capital in Europe, was raised largely from existing investors, although Balderton also attracted a new investment from the European Investment Fund.

The firm declined to comment on its return expectations from the Scytl deal, or to specify whether it had re-invested as part of this latest funding round.