LONDON Venture capital investment in European companies rebounded during the first quarter of 2008 to Euros 1.4 billion, compared with Euros 1.26 billion in the last quarter, but the picture is patchy, with cleantech investments falling substantially.
According to consultancy group Library House (Cambridge, England), with some late reporting of Q1 2008 deals still to be factored in, investment levels appear on an even stronger recovery especially in comparison to the U.S., which has seen a decline.
The first quarter 2008 level was the same as that achieved in the third quarter of last year.
And while the levels of funds invested are on the up, Library House notes a slight decline in the number of deals, from 429 in Q4 2007 to 410 in Q1 2008.
The U.K. saw an 80 percent increase in VC investment in Q1 2008 from Q4 2007, and reached Euros 510 million, its highest level since the first quarter of 2006. Other countries also fared well: Investments in Israel grew by 124 percent from Euros 129 million in Q4 2007 to Euros 290 million in Q1 2008; and Sweden enjoyed a growth of 93 percent over the last quarter from Euros 34 million to Euros 68 million.
There was minimal growth in France and Germany between Q407 and the first quarter of this year. First quarter investments in France came in at Euros 172 million, and for Germany Euros 153 million.
Conversely, Ireland saw one of the largest declines over the quarter, down 84 percent and hitting its second lowest quarter since 2006 at Euros 14 million.
And the European "Cleantech" sector took a surprising decline in Q1, falling in terms of investment by half. The number of deals decreased marginally from 46 to 41 in Q1 but the value invested dropped from Euros 255 million in Q4 2007 to Euros 122 million in Q1 2008.
The most active investor in the quarter was German group High-Tech Gründerfonds Management with nine deals, and Balderton Capital, Intel Capital and Scottish Enterprise Fund in joint second with seven deals each.
Index Ventures was the top investor by syndicated amount invested in Q1 2008, taking part in three deals totaling Euros 83.9 million.
Top exit of the quarter was the sale of Sweden's MySQL to Sun Microsystems in January for Euros 675.6 million. MySQL's eponymous offering is the world's most popular open source database software.
Two communications related exits of note were the sale of Netherlands-based telecoms provider Scarlet for Euros 185 million to Belgacom, Belgium's leading telco; and the Euros 140 million acquisition of UK telecommunications software provider Apertio by Nokia Siemens Networks.
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