VC firm Accel raises $650 million to invest in AI, cybersecurity startups

By Thomson Reuters May 13, 2024 | 6:02 PM

By Supantha Mukherjee

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Venture capital firm Accel said on Tuesday it has raised a $650 million fund to invest in early-stage companies in Europe and Israel with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

The new fund will be Accel’s eighth since opening its London office in 2000. Accel has so far backed more than 200 companies across 20 countries in the region and still has investments in more than 100 companies.

“It takes about three years to invest the fund and then the life of a fund is typically around 12 years,” Harry Nelis, a partner at Accel, told Reuters, adding that Accel will invest in 25 to 30 new companies.

Accel, known for early investments in companies such as Meta and Dropbox, had also invested in major European companies such as Deliveroo, Spotify and Supercell.

The European and Israeli VC market has been growing fast, with investments of $66 billion in 2023 compared to $150 billion in the United States, according to data from Dealroom. In comparison, the investments amounted to just $1.1 billion in 2003 versus $17 billion in the U.S.

“AI is going to be a big platform shift that will probably run for the next 10 years and we expect to place a good number of bets in AI companies,” Nelis said.

While AI companies of interest can emerge anywhere in Europe, London and Paris have become hubs for AI development, he said. “London because of DeepMind and Paris because of Facebook AI Research (FAIR).”

London-based DeepMind is an AI research laboratory which is now owned by Alphabet. Meta opened FAIR in Paris in 2015 and it has become its hub for AI advancements.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Alison Williams)