Amadeus Capital Partners, the veteran UK venture capital fund — started by Hermann Hauser, one of the fathers of the UK computer industry in the 1980s — is moving up-stream with the announcement of its new fund. Amadeus had gone relatively quiet for the last year, making investments here and there. But clearly they were in the process of raising a new fund, because it has raised £33.2m ($55 million) in the first closing of the Amadeus IV Early Stage Funds. This is a first closing, and will go up to £50 million, but the fund does not plan to go beyond that because of the team size. This will be a specifically early stage fund. The timing is welcome, as other investors, such as Balderton, realise the problem of the lack of Series A funds in Europe, most recently Balderton Capital.
Amadeus IV will invest in UK companies developing disruptive technologies in high-growth sectors, including ‘big data’ analytics, cloud computing and cyber security, low-power computing and the ‘internet of things’, medical technology and digital healthcare.
As with many UK VC funds, the new fund is an Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF) supported by the government-backed British Business Bank and is Amadeus’ second ECF. The £33.2m raised to date comes from investors including corporates, trusts, foundations and high net worth individuals.
The previous Amadeus fund was only £10m and was seed focused. Thus, Amadeus is moving up, following the upsurge in growth amongst startups.
Amadeus has been investing in early-stage since 1998. Its recent exit was OneDrum, acquired by Yammer in 2012 for an undisclosed sum, but rumored to be a big exit for the founders and the fund.
Alex van Someren, managing partner of Amadeus’ Early Stage funds, says early stage capital is very scarce in the UK and Europe, hence this move.
He told us: “All the partners in the fund have been consistently interested in early stage companies and that has been the case since I joined the fund three years ago. After this repeated commitment to early stage, Herman Hauser is nailing his colors to the mast and staying committed to this space and it’s great news for the companies he will add value to. There has been and upsurge in deals and there are great companies out there.”
He said the fund would “definitely” be doing Series A fundings up to a £1 million or “possibly larger” and will start at £250,000 for pre-revenue companies.
Amadeus has a particular willingness to do hardware deals, given its in-house experience hardware.
“We have a few sectors we are interested in: Big Data Analytics, cloud computing, cloud infrastructure, cyber security, Digital Health and hardware.”
After all, Hauser did co-found Acorn Computers, where he helped spin out ARM, designer of chips for the iPhone, amongst others. He was portrayed in a TV film, Micro Men, about the early UK computing industry.