Tuesday, 22 June 2010

VC Factsheet: BALDERTON CAPITAL

Company summary & history
Founded in 2000 by Benchmark Capital, Balderton Capital is a London-based early-stage Venture Capital firm. It has one of the largest venture capital funds in Europe, and became independent from Benchmark in 2007 who it still maintains close ties with. Balderton Capital's funds total almost $2 billion, with prominent investments in MySQL, Bebo and Betfair. Balderton invests in many sectors including enterprise software and services, communications and security, semiconductors, mobile computing, consumer services, plus media and financial services. The firm invests primarily in seed-stage companies, but is open to more mature investments too. Most of its investments are in European-based companies, although they have invested in US and Asia based companies and are opportunistic about investing abroad. To date, Balderton has invested in 80 companies since 2000.

Key people
Barry Maloney – Founded Balderton in 2000 and is now a partner. Previously spent 5 years as CEO of Esat Digifone, expanding it to a company with a revenue of £400 million. He has an Economics degree from University College, Dublin 1980.

Mark Evans – Joined Balderton in 2002 and is now a general partner. He was the CEO of a US software services company and an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Benchmark Capital in Menlo Park before joining Balderton. Prior to this, he worked for Goldman sachs for 15 years. He has an MLitt in Economics from The University of Oxford, and a BA in Economics from Queen's University in Canada.

Bernard Liautaud – Parner at Balderton. Founded Business Objects in 1990, which had 6,700 employees and a revenue of $1.5 billion in 2007. Liautaud stepped down as chairman of Business Objects in January 2008. He was Time Magazine Europe's Digital Top 25 and BusinessWeek Stars of Europe of 2002, and one of the Top 10 CEOs in North America by Chief Executive Magazine in 2001. Ha has a Diplôme d'Ingénieur, Ecole Centrale de Paris, and Master of Science, Engineering Management, Stanford University.

High-profile deals
LOVEFiLM – Balderton invested $430 million in return for an equity of less than 20% in January 2009 in the DVD rental company. The Balderton representatives sitting on LOVEFiLM's board are Dharmash Mistry and Tim Bunting. This investment looks set to deliver high returns for Balderton as it is one of the most eagerly anticipated initial public offerings when the markets recover.

Bebo – Balderton plugged in $15 million to Bebo in May 2006, in return for just over 15% of Bebo's equity. Less than two years later in March 2006, Balderton sold their shares in Bebo to AOL: a deal worth $140 million – 9 times their original investment. Barry Maloney, founder and partner of Balderton, represented Balderton on Bebo's board.

Requirements for capital investments in start-ups
Balderton invests between $100,000 to in excess of $50m. Their typical initial investment in a business is between $1m and $15m. On average they invest $15m over the lifecycle of a company. Balderton aims to be the first money in, so investments are usually reserved for early-stage and seed-stage companies, which are supported with later rounds of investment following growth.

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