Fidelity Growth Partners Europe arrived on the European scene with a $150 million fund back in 2010 and you could say it’s been busy. Building on Fidelity’s 40-year heritage of venture investing, the firm has since invested in Seatwave, Wahanda, GoodData, and Notonthehighstreet to name just a few. As a private equity and venture capital firm, it’s also played in the early stage, making it a more unusual beast, capable of going on a long funding journey with its entrepreneurs, relative to some firms.
But today it hits a new milestone, announcing a new £150 million (nearly $250 million) fund and a complete rebrand under a new name, bringing its sister funds globally (such as Fidelity Growth Partners Asia and Moonray Investors, for instance) under one new brand name: Eight Roads Ventures.
Team members include Davor Hebel (who has steered FGPE since 2010), Gaurav Tuli, Michael Stephanblome (venture partner), Vytas Balsys, Nick Brito, Florian Oettinger, Asheque Shams and Jack Eadie.
Among its notable current investments include AppsFlyer out of Israel which has raised over $27 million for its mobile ad platform, as well as Innogames in Hamburg. The latter is a browser games company which now has 400 employees. Other include Alibaba, Wahanda, Ultragenyx, AsiaInfo, Transpole and WuXi PharmaTech.
Davor Hebel, Managing Partner, told me in an interview that while their first fund has been relatively early for the European scene, it entered at the right place and time. Indeed, at the time, he ‘called’ many European startups that later grew into ‘unicorns’ including Spotify, Zalando, King and others.
He told me they now plan to scale the team in order to cover Europe’s hottest markets from London to Berlin, Stockholm to Dublin, Malmo to Prague. They also “plan to push further into FinTech,” he said.
In raising this new fund, he said the “LP feedback for Europe was very strong and positive about European tech companies. Growth markets remain outside the U.S., so Eight Roads is very happy to help these future global companies scale up from places like Europe. Our great strength is patience in the long term. It’s own own capital we are investing so we don’t have the same pressure to flip assets.”
As part of the re-brand, Eight Roads has moved offices and re-invigorated its working environment with a more ‘open kitchen’ style working space where they hope to attract up and coming entrepreneurs (pictured). They are not the only ones. This year London’s Balderton Capital moved into swanky new offices, fashioned out of an old stables. VCs are trying as they might to ‘get hip’ to Europe’s newest entrepreneurs.
“We want to help build a more vibrant ecosystem in Europe. It’s a crystallisation of our desire to work with the whole ecosystem both through our space, events and partners. We feel like there have been too many walled gardens in the past. So we plan to be very co-investor friendly” said Hebel. In fact, the old Fidelity invested with all the majors including Index, Accel, 83North etc.
He did however caution: “We have to be careful about so-called billion dollar valuations. We prefer to be in for the long term.”
Formally speaking, Eight Roads will be the proprietary investment arm of FIL, Fidelity International Limited. As a private investment firm with what’s known as ‘permanent capital’, it is a different beast from some because it can invest with a long time horizon.
As for the new name, the number “8” is associated with prosperity, while their logo is an ‘infinite road’ in the form of the infinity symbol, which is obviously an 8 turned on its side. You gotta love branding consultants.