Accel Closes $475M Fund To Invest Mainly In Europe And Israel, Focusing On Its Series A “Sweet Spot”

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Accel Partners has just this morning announced another hefty fund of $475 million. It’s the company’s fourth fund for Accel London and will be used for investments across a wide range of technologies — consumer Internet, big data, cloud, SaaS and mobile among them – and primarily companies in Europe and Israel, at all stages of investment but focusing mainly on its “sweet spot” of Series A.

The news comes on the heels of reports in February that Accel was preparing to close a fund of $450 million.

The rumors, in fact, started at the end of last year, but with much bigger sums: French financial paper Les Echos reported in December that Accel was raising a fund of about three times as much, with $500 million going to Europe. But Kevin Comolli, the Accel London partner that helped open the VC’s office in the city 13 years ago, says this was a misfire.

“There is absolutely no truth to that,” he tells TechCrunch. “This is the first and final close.”

He says that this latest $475 million makes Accel London the largest VC fund in Europe now focused on early-stage technology, with about $2 billion raised since 2000. Accel London IV will be used, Comolli says, to invest across every stage of the game, from seed rounds of $500,000 through to growth rounds of $50 million. “But our classic sweet spot will remain Series A,” he says.

In that sense, this fund is an interesting development in the wider discussion the tech industry has been having about the so-calledSeries A Crunch.” Comolli would not give his opinion on whether he thought that Accel, or Europe, was bucking that trend — or whether in fact the crunch issue has been overblown, or whether emphasizing Series A rounds is because of the proliferation of too much seed money going to too many companies, now needing their next round to go on. Instead, he sees this as continuing interest in the wider investment opportunity for tech in this part of the world.

“It’s great news for the industry because of a perceived sense of shortage of capital in this asset class,” he says. “This is about Series A, yes, but also limited capital partnerships. I can’t speak to other people’s fundraising but it’s a powerful statement to raise this quickly and be oversubscribed.”

The new fund is also a sign that there continues to be money swimming around looking for landing points in the European and Israeli tech sectors. And it’s an international interest: some 65% of the capital in London IV comes from US investors, says Comolli.

He says that the new fund will see Accel expanding its geographical focus more. “We’re interested in Eastern Europe more, and the Nordics have also been very active for us,” he notes. Gaming juggernaut Supercell, he points out, has had the biggest revenue and profit ramp that Accel has seen in its entire history. (Accel was one of Supercell’s earliest investors.)

First investments to come out of the new fund will be made in the second half of this year.

Accel is one of the bigger VCs active in Europe and it has been active in a number of investments worldwide. Exits include QlikTech, Playfish and Kayak, which it says represent an aggregate market capitalisation of over $4 billion. Other startups in its portfolio of 500 investments include Alfresco, Angry Birds maker Rovio, Avito, CHECK24, ForgeRock, Gameforge, Hailo, Mind Candy, Showroomprive, Spotify, Supercell, Varonis and Wonga.

Full release below.

ACCEL LONDON CLOSES $475 MILLION FUND TO BUILD ON STRONG PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE

Accel’s total funds under management for Europe and Israel now at $2 billion

March 21st, 2013 – London: Accel Partners, the leading global venture capital firm, today announced the first and final close of Accel London IV, a $475 million fund focused on Europe and Israel. The fund was raised with unprecedented speed and demand.

Accel London IV will build on the firm’s success across the region and invest in early and growth-stage technology companies in Accel’s core areas of expertise, including consumer Internet, big data, cloud, SaaS and mobile.

“The fact that Accel London IV was raised in eight weeks and was significantly over-subscribed is a powerful endorsement of Accel London and the market opportunity in Europe and Israel from our world-class investors,” said Kevin Comolli, Partner at Accel London.

Accel London’s team has a strong track record of success, which reflects the depth, breadth and balance of its investment and operating expertise. Accel London’s recent success stories include QlikTech, Playfish and Kayak, representing an aggregate market capitalisation of over $4 billion. Its current portfolio includes some of the largest and fastest-growing private technology companies in Europe, including Alfresco, Angry Birds (Rovio), Avito, CHECK24, ForgeRock, Gameforge, Hailo, Mind Candy, Showroomprive, Spotify, Supercell, Varonis and Wonga.

“Accel’s latest fund is excellent news for the European market. The London team’s deep local knowledge and experience, combined with Accel’s global network of resources and Silicon Valley heritage, make it unique amongst venture firms, offering a distinct advantage to entrepreneurs looking for a partner to help build a category-defining, world-class business,” said Lars Björk, CEO QlikTech. An Accel investment, QlikTech’s listing on NASDAQ resulted in a return of over $400 million to the Accel fund, one of the largest venture returns in Europe.

Harry Nelis, Partner at Accel London, said, “Europe has a strong talent base, including a growing community of repeat entrepreneurs, whose success, experience and ambition continue to fuel our ecosystem. Innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving in Europe and with technology hubs developing across the region, the next billion-dollar company could emerge from anywhere.”

The Accel London investment team includes Kevin Comolli, Sonali De Rycker, Bruce Golden, Harry Nelis, Philippe Botteri and Michiel Kotting.