| SAN FRANCISCO, June 10
SAN FRANCISCO, June 10 Index Ventures, the firm
known for backing online video-chat service Skype at its early
stages, said on Tuesday that it had raised 400 million euros for
a venture fund focused on early-stage investments.
The new fund, which comes just two years after Index
announced its previous 350 million euro early-stage fund,
underscores a continuing increase in investors' interest in
venture capital. With a new 400 million euro fund, Index
Ventures will stick with its global strategy, but perhaps with
more of a U.S. twist.
"In some ways, we are going to be more present in the U.S.
than we were in the past," Danny Rimer, a San Francisco-based
partner at Index, said in an interview. "You're going to see
earlier-stage investments that come out of the U.S."
Rimer's investments include Los Angeles-based fashion
company Nastygal, San Francisco-based artificial-intelligence
gaming developer Anki and San Francisco-based file-storage
Index Ventures, which was founded in Geneva, has seen some
big outcomes in recent months. Over the last year, one portfolio
company, Helsinki-based gaming company Supercell, sold a
majority stake for $1.53 billion to two Japanese companies.
Monsanto Co, the world's largest seed company, bought
another, San Francisco-based Climate Corp, for $1.1 billion.
But Index's most impressive accomplishment has come via
recent initial public offerings, including five over the last
year at valuations of $1 billion or more.
Those comprise online food-ordering company Just Eat Plc
and Candy Crush owner King Digital Entertainment Plc
, both based in London; Paris-based online advertising
company Criteo SA ; San Francisco-based help-desk
software company Zendesk Inc ; and Santa Clara,
California-based data-center company Arista Networks Inc
The latest fund's roughly 80 investors, known in the
industry as limited partners, are about half U.S.-based and half
Europe-based, Rimer said.
Returns for venture capital are steadily improving. In the
10 years to Dec. 31, venture capital has returned 9.7 percent
annually, compared with 7.4 percent for the Dow Jones industrial
average, according to a report from consultancy Cambridge
Until last year, 10-year venture returns had lagged the
stock market, reports from Cambridge Associates show.
(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)