Balderton in $485m raising for new fund

BALDERTON Capital, the venture capital firm which had a 20 per cent stake in failed sports broadcaster Setanta, is about to close the biggest venture fund raised in the UK in the last 12 months.<br /><br />The fund, which has fallen just short of its $500m (&pound;308m) target, will look for investment opportunities in the telecoms and technology sectors.<br /><br />Balderton founder Barry Maloney is expected to announce imminently that he has closed the fund to new investment having raised $485m &ndash; just three per cent off target.<br /><br />The successful fund raising will offer some welcome respite to Irish tycoon Maloney, who recently stepped down from the board of Setanta shortly before the sports broadcaster&rsquo;s UK operations fell into administration, leaving Balderton with huge losses.<br /><br />Maloney spent five years as chief executive officer of Esat Digifone, Ireland&rsquo;s second-largest mobile operator, which was later bought by British Telecom and became part of Cellnet and then O2.<br /><br />Joining Maloney at the helm of the fund will be Mark Evans, who formerly spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in Europe Asia and the US.<br /><br />French heavyweight Bernard Liautaud, who founded Business Objects in 1990 and grew it into a $6.8bn global software giant in 15 years, will also be making investment decisions.<br /><br />And Tim Bunting, a former partner at Goldman Sachs and current non-executive director at Yell Group and Sepura, will also take up a senior role at the group.<br /><br />Balderton takes a &ldquo;teamwork approach&rdquo; to managing its funds, and insists its partners are financially invested in investment vehicles they manage.<br /><br />This fund is the group&rsquo;s fourth. Its others have invested in a variety of technology-based companies like social networking website Bebo, online betting exchange Betfair and<br /><br />However, in January this year Balderton said that there would be &lsquo;&lsquo;some casualties&rsquo;&rsquo; among the 80 or so companies it has chosen to invest in.