Balderton fund marks first close on fourth fund

The European venture capital firm plans to start making tech and media-related investments from its planned $500m Balderton Capital Fund IV by next month.

European venture capital firm Balderton Capital has completed the initial closing for its newest fund on $430 million. Balderton Capital Fund IV was launched two months ago and is targeting a final closing of $500 million, after the firm previously raised $550 million for its third fund in December 2006.

Balderton, which manages approximately $1.5 billion in committed capital, plans to start making investments from its newest fund in the next month or so, a spokesman said. Balderton will continue its strategy of focusing on tech and media early stage companies, as well as a few later stage ventures, with investments of between $5 million to $10 million.

Since its inception in 2000, the firm has invested in more than 70 companies in the US, Europe and China, including online betting exchange Betfair and European sports broadcaster Setanta Sports. Its sale last year of its 15.7 percent stake in social networking site Bebo generated a $140 million return, making it one of the most successful European internet investments in the last few years. Another Balderton investment, open-source database company MySQL, was also sold to Sun Microsystems for around $1 billion.

The firm last year boosted its lineup following a couple of departures with the hiring of software entrepreneur Bernard Liautaud and former Emap executive Dharmash Mistry as general partners.