Leading US venture capital company Spectrum Equity has raised $1.75bn to invest in communications companies and plans to spend up to one third of that money in Europe.
Bill Collatos, managing general partner at Spectrum's Boston office, said the company is keen to invest more in European companies. Spectrum opened a London office in January and already has stakes in a number of European companies. It now plans to invest up to a further $500m in the region.
A confluence of events, including deregulation of telecommunications, the advent of the euro and the improved climate for initial public offerings, so that venture capitalists can sell their shareholdings and make their profits, makes Europe an enticing market, said Collatos. Even more so because Europe has a population of 350 million compared with 260 million in the US, he added.
Spectrum's UK investments include Geneva Technology, which provides billing software for telcos, Lan management software developer Entuity, and ISP Internet Network Services.
Spectrum has other investments including Spain's Jazztel, which is a competitive local-exchange carrier, and German data services provider Riodata. It was an investor in Swedish fibre optics company Qeyton, which was recently bought by Cisco.
Spectrum has concentrated on communications infrastructure companies since it raised its first fund in 1997. That fund raised $108m. The combined total of monies Spectrum controls, with the latest fund, is nearly $3bn.
With its latest fund, Spectrum plans to make investments of between $5m to $200m, and will look at communications infrastructure companies during various stages of their development, including seed, early stage and large growth financing.
It is also looking to leverage its experience in the US market by taking European technologies across the Atlantic.
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