Ebb & Flow

Two recently created European venture capital firms last week announced interim closes of their first funds.

Aescap Venture announced a second close of E43 million ($57.8 million), bringing to E102 million ($136.4 million) the total raised thus far. The fund is expected to have a final close in a month and a half: it has a hard cap of E150 million.

Last July, Aescap announced the first close at E59 million. The fund is expected to be invested in 12-15 companies and will be put to work across the board in early through late stage plays.

The fund already has invested in German neurology company Affectis, Belgian drug delivery company ActoGenix and Austrian inflammation company ProtAffin.

LPs are mostly European and include banks, insurers, funds of funds and wealthy individuals.

Aescap has been able to raise a substantial first fund based on the background of its team, founder and general partner Dinko Valerio told Ebb & Flow. He was founder and former CEO of Crucell (Euronext:CRXL; CRXL) while the other Aescap founder, Michiel de Haan, was the founder of Atlas Venture and its CEO until 2000.

"In the European venture capital community we stand out because we are multidisciplinary, with not just financial expertise, but also industrial, scientific and market intelligence," noted Valerio. "That's not typical in Europe, where VCs usually are more financially oriented."

After the bubble, he said, VCs never returned in sufficient numbers to Europe. As a result, "valuations are still on the realistic side of

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