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UK venture firm Octopus raises 100m pounds for startups

[LONDON] UK venture capital firm Octopus Ventures raised 100 million pounds (S$190.36 million) to invest in European startups, the company said Monday.

The latest fundraising brings Octopus's total early-stage funds to more than 400 million pounds, the company said in a statement. The firm plans to invest 75 million pounds in early stage European startups this year, complementing its US$140 million Octopus Zenith Opportunities II LP fund, launched last year and dedicated to backing later-stage companies.

With the additional money, Octopus can now back entrepreneurs from the very beginnings of their companies and continue with follow-on investments as they grow, Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, said in the statement. Octopus typically invests US$250,000 to US$25 million in a first funding round for a portfolio company and then looks to do follow-on investments in all subsequent rounds, the company said.

"Adding a further 100 million pounds to our early stage funds indicates the opportunity and belief we have in the developing European entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provides Octopus with the funds to continue to support these exceptional entrepreneurs," Mr Macpherson said.

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Octopus Ventures is part of the Octopus Group, an asset management firm with a total of 5.5 billion pounds under management.

Octopus Ventures has backed a number of well-known European startups, including SwiftKey, which Microsoft Corp acquired in February for US$250 million, according to the Financial Times, and LoveFilm, which Amazon acquired for US$320 million in January 2011.

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