Are the European venture capitalists now out of the wilderness in four years For the first time since the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the "venture capital" shows in any case of undeniable signs of restarting. Evidence of this renaissance, Sofinnova Partners, the oldest French company investment in young technology companies, has made the greatest fundraising in Europe since 2000. She had even to Cap his fifth vehicle 385 million, collected in five months, while it exceeded its initial goal of 350 million.
Another indicator of a thrill, the arm of venture capital of the Finnish Nokia, renamed BlueRun Ventures, has just completed the first round table of a third fund which should reach 274 million euros by mid-2005, sponsored less than 50 by its creator. In an affected local landscape, German Wellington Partners received 85 million end of December 2004 for a goal of 120 million it expects to reach this year. Other operators French Iris Capital and Index Ventures Switzerland, among others are also on the road.
In the United States, investors were delivered between 16 and 17 billion dollars in the pot of the "venture capital" last year, according to preliminary estimates of Ernst & Young and VentureOne, against 8.7 billion in 2003. In Europe, "l' year 2005 is better than 2004 and lightens the success of some fundraising, including Sofinnova Capital V, l' overview of all the other players." "Although one swallow does not make the spring", nuance Christophe Bavaria, the President of the Executive Board of AGF Private Equity.
A "sense of recovery."
Traumatized by the setbacks of five years ago, "some investors do not yet return to venture capital and prefer to turn to the LBO funds that provide safer performance opportunities", note this professional who has an Observatory preferred with its Fund of funds business.
This is not a chance if the first investor (by amount) of Sofinnova Capital V is American, so much new subscribers are Anglo-Saxon (the pension funds of BP, the Wellcome Foundation) and if it has only a single French among them. "Non-European investors have realized that there were opportunities to be seized in Europe," is another specialist of funds of funds, Pascal Lagarde, CEO of CDC enterprises PS management, while stressing that the "youth of the market" and "the absence of a stock type Nasdaq market" always handicap the European venture capital.
At the time, many actors such as Ventech, are forced to wait for that environment improves to resume their Pilgrim stick. "For the Fund, the only way to overcome the reluctance of investors will be to accelerate the pace of the outputs of their portfolio in 2005 and 2006 in good conditions", said Christophe Bavaria, in AGF Private Equity.
The situation could be gradually unlock in 2005. For example, Ventech and I-Source is are disengaged last month software manufacturer's Calendra, acquired by an American competitor and Ventech prepares an introduction on the stock exchange for the spring. "There is a genuine sense of recovery," said one of its associate directors, Alain Caffi. "Indeed, American technology companies benefit to return their shopping in Europe", observed Pascal Lagarde.