French venture fund goes solo

Iris Capital, the venture capital formerly known as Part’Com, has spun out of French bank CDC Ixis and has announced a first close of its latest fund on E100m.

Paris-based venture capital firm Part’Com Management has changed its name to Iris Capital Management after gaining independence from French bank CDC Ixis.

Under the deal, Iris’ management team acquired a majority stake in the management company. The group will have a consultant mandate to manage Part’Com’s existing portfolio.


In a statement issued yesterday, the firm unveiled its new name and also announced a first closing, at E100m ($123.8m), on a new venture fund.


The fund, called Iris Capital Fund II, has two cornerstone investments from former Caisse des Depôts and Ergo Equity Partners, the private equity unit of German insurer Ergo. Iris is hoping to raise a total of E200m by the end of 2004.


“To have achieved a first closing of this size in today’s wait-and-see fundraising market is a performance to be proud of,” Pierre de Fouguet and Antoine Garrigues, the managing partners of Iris Capital, said in a statement.


The pair added that agreement over the firm’s independence had been reached in full agreement with Caisse des Dépôts Group, “which has consistently supported us and has renewed its trust by becoming one of the major investors in the new fund.”


The fund, which has a mandate to invest in Europe and the US, predominantly makes investments of between E4m and E10m in early-stage and expansion companies in France and Europe.


Iris Capital makes venture investments in media, communications and information technology companies. The firm was founded in 1986 and has made more than 180 investments. The firm manages more than E500m in capital and claims a track record of 108 realisations since 1991, returning 3x invested capital and an internal rate of return of 32 per cent.