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Venture capital investor Lakestar raises $735 million for Europe bets

BERLIN (Reuters) - Venture capital investor Lakestar said on Tuesday it had raised a total of $735 million (568 million pounds) for early- and growth stage funds that will invest mainly in Europe, while adding new faces to its top leadership team.

Zurich-based Lakestar, founded in 2013, will invest one-third of the commitments to its Early Stage fund and two thirds to its Growth Stage fund as venture investing in Europe achieves increasing scale.

“Finally, venture capital has become a profitable asset class of its own in Europe,” Lakestar founder Klaus Hommels said in a statement.

“Not only on the funding side but also the number and size of European tech companies and exits gives us confidence in the thriving ecosystem.”

Since raising fresh funds, Lakestar has backed Impala, a London-based hotel data startup, and Germany-based logistics platforms Scoutbee and Sennder.

Other new bets include Soulmachine, a New Zealand-based designer of artificial intelligence based ‘avatars’ for interacting with computers, and Eigen Technologies, a London-based startup that uses natural language processing to help banks and other businesses analyse documents in bulk.

Lakestar said it was appointing serial founder and CEO Mika Salmi as managing partner; Stephen Nundy, formerly of Goldman Sachs, as chief technology officer; while investor relations head Ninja Struye de Swielande also becomes a partner.

Europe lags United States and China in venture capital investment but activity is accelerating, with 28 billion euros invested in the first nine months of 2019 putting it on track for a record year, according to dealroom.co.

Venture capital firm Atomico said last week it had closed its fifth fund with $820 million to invest in early-stage technology companies in Europe, saying the region had come of age in terms of innovation and opportunity.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Michelle Martin

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