PAR NIELSEN

Venture capital firm Balderton Capital has closed a new $400 million fund, which it says will be used to invest in early-stage European tech start-ups.

Balderton said Tuesday that the fund is targeted at start-ups raising funds at the Series A stage — in other words, businesses that are looking to raise their first significant round of funding. The company, which is based in London, added that the new fund would make roughly 12 investments per year.

Europe's tech sector is often seen as lagging behind its U.S. and Chinese counterparts, especially when it comes to venture capital, or VC, inflows and valuations. There have been some signs that the industry on the continent may be gathering steam though.

Last year, a report by another VC firm, Atomico, said that Europe was home to twice as many tech initial public offerings as the U.S., while newly-listed European firms were seen to be outperforming their American rivals. A prominent IPO in 2018 was that of Adyen's, the Dutch payments firm, which has seen its share price rise over 50% since it debuted.

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, a general partner at Balderton, told CNBC he doesn't think Europe is far from creating a tech firm that can rival Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google or online platforms out of China like Alibaba and Tencent.

"I don't think we're far away at all," said Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, a former Uber executive. "I spent 10 years in the Valley prior to joining Balderton. For me, there's this shift that's happened that means we're not lagging behind now."

A new $400 million fund targets European tech to compete with Silicon Valley and China
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