Benchmark’s European VC Arm Goes Independent; Commands $1.5 Billion Fund

Benchmark Capital’s European arm has split off from the company and taken on a new name in a move the US entity says “places all of us on a stronger, independent foundation.” Balderton, the newly-named division will be only “affiliated” with its Silicon Valley partner and will have around $1.5 billion under management, making it one of Europe’s largest VC firms. While Benchmark in the US has investments in AOL, eBay and Kontiki under its belt, the portfolio of the European wing, which was among the Valley’s first investors to set up in the continent in 2000, includes Bebo, Betfair, Pageflakes and Zopa among a list of 70 investment recipients across the UK, US, China, Russia and Scandinavia. Named after its street in London, Balderton now appears to have grown strong enough to leave the nest. VentureBeat: Benchmark’s Kevin Harvey said the intent from the beginning was that Benchmark Europe “would have local autonomy, and it has been run that way.” The Israeli office is likely to go the same way. More at
— Fred Destin, a tech VC with Atlas Venture in London, wrote on his blog: “Whilst there had been some rumblings about a tense relationship between the two groups, it’s fair to say that most people I spoke to did not see this coming at all. This must come as a blow to the U.S. Benchmark at a time when their competitors (Sequoia, Matrix) are successfully entering India and China.”