The IPO drought is just as bad in Europe as it is here. Filling in the gap for high-growth companies hungry for capital are late-stage growth venture funds, such as the 400-million-Euro fund launched last January by Index Ventures. “The IPO market being closed is helping us,” confirms Index partner Dom Vidal.
Today, Index is announcing two big investments in that fund: $35 million (22.5 million Euros) into BestofMedia Group and $27 million (17 million Euros) into Milestone Systems.
Both companies are about ten years old and growing revenues more than 50 percent a year. Neither discloses its revenues, but Index’s growth fund managers in general look for companies pulling in at least $6 to $7 million per quarter (or around $25 million a year), with strong cash flow, and looking to keep the growth going.
BestofMedia is the Cnet of Europe. Based in France, it owns a group of tech review sites organized under the Tom’s Hardware, Tom’s Guide, and Tom’s Games brands. BestofmEdia bought Tom’s Hardware in April, 2007 for a rumored $15 million.
The company claims 25 million monthly unique visitors worldwide (comScore says 12 million), and will likely use the cash for more acquisitions and to enter more markets. BestofMedia’s sites currently operate in 12 countries, including France, Germany, the U.S., Italy, and Taiwan.
Milestone Systems, which is based in Copenhagen, offers IP security surveillance systems. Video surveillance technology is at the early stages of a shift from proprietary technologies to ones based on IP networks that can interface with many more different kinds of cameras and equipment. Those systems can also be more easily upgraded and customized with software passed over the network. The digital portion of the multi-billion dollar surveillance industry is growing at about 40 percent a year, and Milestone is growing even faster.