Brexit is forcing VC firm 83North, an early Just Eat-backer, to look at tech startups beyond Britain with fresh $250m fund

 
Lynsey Barber
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EU Referendum - The White Cliffs Of Dover
83North will increase investments outside the UK (Source: Getty)

Venture capital firm 83North, formerly known as Greylock IL and a backer of Just Eat before it went public, has raised a fresh multimillion pound fund to invest in startups in the UK, the rest of Europe and Israel.

But, it warned that it will strengthen its focus on the rest of Europe because of Brexit.

The $250m 83North IV fund, the firm's fourth in the last decade and largest to date, and it has also backed Swedish payments startup iZettle, payday lender Wonga and online retailer notonthehighstreet.com.

Read more: UK fintech VC investment plunged by a third last year

“Since we started investing in Europe in 2008, we have expanded our focus from primarily UK-headquartered startups to invest across the region and have now backed companies from France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden. As we look to the future, the UK’s exit from the EU will accelerate activity in European tech hubs outside the UK. We believe this presents a big opportunity for venture funds, like 83North, that are already well-established in the wider European region," said London partner Laurel Bowden.

She told City A.M. "We still think the UK is a great environment - that's not going to change overnight.

"Brexit definitely has the potential to grow hubs outside of the UK faster than it otherwise would have."

Bowden, who has been in London for 20 years and at 83North since 2008, added that she was "shocked" the government has yet to overtly reassure that it is committed to the tech industry, in particular on access to talent.

Read more: Cameron's former adviser Dan Korski has launched a major govtech venture

"Why wouldn't you just say you want to remain the tech hub of Europe? And, that will continue?" she said, adding that all was needed were a few comments.

"In reality nothing's changed and everyone agrees tech is good for the UK and London, but I am surprised [there has not been assurances]. It doesn't have to be policy, just saying it would alleviate fears."

The firm will start making investments with the fund early next year and still has four to five it will make with its third fund before that.

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