For young startups stuck in neutral as a result of parched credit markets, Index Ventures may soon offer a jump start. The venture capital firm — one of Europe’s largest — today announced the close of a €350 million (about $440 million) fund for early stage and seed investments in cleantech, as well as biotech and information technology sectors in the U.S., Europe and Israel.
While Index has invested in more than 100 startups since its launch more than a decade ago (including such high profile tech ventures as Skype and MySQL), its cleantech portfolio remains sparse. Since joining the green VCs at Kleiner Perkins in backing rubber recycler Lehigh Technologies last summer, Index has yet to make another cleantech play.
With another €350 million in hand, Index may be ready to bulk up that portfolio with clean technology investments that jive more with the firm’s history of getting in on the ground floor. Five-year-old Lehigh, which had already been running a 83,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for about two years by the time Index and Kleiner closed their $34.5 million investment, offered a way to test the sector’s waters. This latest fund is meant for bolder moves: According to the company’s announcement today, the fund “reinforces the firm’s commitment to investing in innovative and disruptive companies, from the very earliest stages.”