Mowbray launches European venture FoF

Mowbray Capital, led by Guy Fraser-Sampson, is looking to raise up to €300m dedicated exclusively to European venture capital fund investments.

Mowbray Capital, a European fund of funds firm founded by Guy Fraser-Sampson in 2003, has announced the launch of Mowbray European Venture LP. The European-focused venture fund of funds vehicle is seeking to raise between €100 million ($119 million) and €300 million.

In an interview with PrivateEquityOnline, Fraser-Sampson said that the fund would be targeting predominantly European investors and would not initially be trying to raise capital from US sources.

Commenting on his plans for deploying the capital, Fraser-Sampson, who previously led the international operations of US-headquartered VC-focused fund of funds investor Horsley Bridge, said that adopting a US-style venture model for the new vehicle was the way forward for European venture fund investors.

“Europe can match or even exceed US returns once Europeans begin to accept and adopt the more successful US model and recognise it is a top decile game and that it is a few big winners which drive returns,” Fraser-Sampson said.

Stating that in his opinion “the fundraising climate is dramatically better this summer than last summer,” Fraser-Sampson also acknowledged that it was a difficult time for anyone raising money for venture capital at the moment.

The Mowbray team will personally invest one percent of total commitments to the vehicle, which the firm expects to attract pension funds, life assurance companies and banks as limited partners.

The fund of funds vehicle is being launched after a quiet first quarter in Europe for VC fundraisers. Just  €70 million was raised in the first three months of 2004, down from €392 million in the same period last year, according to statistics from Almeida Capital, the private equity placement and research firm.

In the same quarter in the US, VCs raised a massive $7.9 billion (€6.7 billion), up from $1 billion in the same period last year.