Silicon Valley VC exceeds Euro fund target

Benchmark Capital has closed its new European technology fund with $750m in the kitty.

Benchmark Capital, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, announced yesterday it will close its new European fund – Benchmark Europe I – having raised $750m (E831m), 50% more than its original target.

The ease with which Benchmark raised its new fund stands in contrast to the recent experiences of some European venture capitalists, who are considering postponing fund-raising exercises in the face of investor hostility toward tech-related stocks. But there are at least two reasons why the Benchmark experience is not typical.

Firstly, Benchmark raised 25% of the fund from entrepreneurs, including Pierre Omidyar, founder of online auctioneer eBay – a venture which Benchmark itself backed – rather than institutional investors.

And secondly, Benchmark is one of leading US venture capital firms and commands attention from investors given its proven track record of backing new economy winners like Red Hat, Ariba and Webvan.

Benchmark Europe I will seek to back serial entrepreneurs in the early stages of a new venture. Benchmark partners have a lot of experience working with application service providers, Internet infrastructure services, software, consumer devices and e-commerce sites, and this is where they are likely to focus their attention in Europe.