US private equity firm Carlyle Group has made a senior appointment at its European venture team ahead of what it sees as an important year for European venture capital investment.
The firm has hired David Fitzgerald, a former partner at Apax, who becomes managing director and co-head of Carlyle Europe Venture Partners alongside Wolfgang Hanrieder. Fitzgerald joined Apax in 1999 and was responsible for later-stage telecoms investments for Apax’s European fund.
Fitzgerald has led several investments in the telecommunications sector for Apax, including Blue Arc, a network-attached storage business, and Eyretel, a voice recording call centre business. He also spent 16 years at Andersen Consulting, now Accenture, based in both Dublin and the UK, working on projects in oil and gas before specialising in telecommunications. In 1997 he was made head of the UK telecoms practice, where he worked on projects with British Telecom and Cable & Wireless.
Fitzgerald will focus on later-stage investments, including corporate carve-outs, in technology companies across Europe. The firm is currently investing Carlyle Europe Venture Partners, which was launched in April 2000 and is 53 percent committed. The fund’s strategy is to invest €15-30 million in later-stage, revenue generating European technology companies.
“I am delighted that David Fitzgerald has joined the team. His experience in larger deals, and deep industry knowledge will be a great asset to drive the team forward. We are focusing on mid-market later-stage investments with lower risk profiles to achieve a balanced portfolio of early and late stage companies,” said Hanrieder.
“The Carlyle Group has an impressive team and track record and a strong commitment to Europe. The venture team has a great pipeline of potential new deals, and I am looking forward to developing the European venture portfolio with new investments alongside Wolfgang Hanrieder,” said Fitzgerald in a statement. Speaking to Bloomberg yesterday, Fitzgerald described the current environment as “the most promising time for years to invest”. Carlyle is expected to launch the follow-up to the European venture fund within the next two years.