Amadeus Capital, the Cambridge based venture capital firm co-founded by Hermann Hauser, has held a $75 million close on a new fund, the Amadeus IV Digital Prosperity Fund.
The first in its fourth generation of funds, the money for the first close of the Digital Prosperity Fund has come entirely from South Africa headquartered MTN Group, one of the world's leading telcos, and has now been opened up to further corporate and institutional investors as it seeks a final target of around $150 million.
It is the first major fund from Amadeus since Amadeus III, a £160m fund closed in 2007. Having exhausted its previous funds other than for follow on rounds, Amadeus is now able to commit to major late stage investments into new companies with the first expected to happen this year.
The underlying strategy for the new fund is to invest in companies from mature economies developing online and mobile applications, principally for emerging markets which have greater capacity for growth. Nineteen countries have been identified initially from across Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.
An Amadeus spokesperson said the focus for the fund was identified after examining the work of its portfolio companies, 22 of which including Cambridge Broadband Networks and ip.access have customers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Amadeus says the majority of the identified countries have rapidly growing economies, low government debt and an expanding middle class that is often young and urban and that the demand for mobile and data services that meet the particular needs of this new group of consumers and the businesses serving them is huge.
"This fund builds on our 16 years of experience in investing in the telecommunications market, but with a new focus on a key driver of technology adoption – mobile usage by the increasingly affluent segments of developing economies," said Amadeus CEO, Anne Glover.
With more corporates likely to come in as backers of the new fund, a Strategic Advisory Board comprising – which already includes MTN executives – is being formed by Amadeus to provide strategic guidance to portfolio companies.
Karel Pienaar, group chief strategy and M&A officer of MTN, said: "This investment in Amadeus' new Fund will give us exposure to a range of opportunities in online and mobile applications and services relevant to the needs of the emerging middle class of consumer.
"Investment in companies that focus on those technologies that leap-frog current applications fits well with MTN's focus of driving sustainable growth through data services and related opportunities."