Michael Birch, the founder of Bebo who made gazillions handing it over to AOL (NYSE: TWX) and leaving with the deal, has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it, so he does the next best thing: launch a digital media fund. We had some details on it in April. Now, some more money has been put into the fund, and it is officially called PROfounders Capital.
It has raised about $30 million and intends to raise more with individual investors. The other partners in the fund are Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com (also on our parent Guardian Media Group’s board); Peter Dubens, the entrepreneur behind Pipex, 365 Media and now Oakley Capital; and Jonathan Goodwin, founder of media boutique bank LongAcre and later sold to Jefferies in 2007.
Rogan Angelini-Hurll is a general partner and they have just added Sean Seton-Rogers, formerly with Balderton Capital, as the new general partner.
The focus is Europe, but they’ll also helpfully added “beyond” in it. They are doing one smart thing: not taking institutional money and instead going with individual enterprenuers with money, following in the footsteps of some of the newer funds—aka Paypal Mafia, Google Mafia, et al—in Silicon Valley. Their niche, as they define it: “to fill the gap between angel and traditional venture funding in the digital media sector in Europe”; that $1 million range that everyone believes is the new $10 million.
I don’t see a gap but if they have money to spend, more power to them. Plus they have plenty of new competition for deals: Index Ventures recently opened a Euro 350 million new fund for startups - Atlas, Balderton, Accel and Wellington have also created about Euro 1.3 billion in new funds in the last year.
For some numbers on digital media money invested in Europe in first half of this year, see our review here.
By Rafat Ali