Digital media moguls launch start-up fund

Birch and Hoberman secure £30m for PROfounders Capital


Bebo founder Michael Birch and Brent Hoberman, the co-founder of Lastminute.com and Mydeco, have launched a VC fund to back early stage tech ventures.

Hoberman and Birch confirmed the venture capital fund, PROfounders Capital has already raised £30m, and is aiming to secure more within the next few months.

The fund is not planning on taking institutional money.

Birch, who sold his social networking site to AOL last year for $850m, is the largest investor in the fund, which aims to focus on new business models in the digital media and tech sectors.

PROfounders Capital has been designed to bridge the gap between angel and traditional venture funding with a strong emphasis on “fostering and supporting entrepreneurialism in Europe on a wider level”.

“Our aim is to be a central force in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe,” said Birch.

Hoberman, who co-founded Lastminute.com with Martha Lane Fox, added: “This is an opportunity for us to help nurture new initiatives at an important time when digital is becoming part of the fabric of our daily lives yet profits are increasingly flowing out of Europe.”

The fund is also backed by Peter Dubins, the founder of Pipex and 365; and Jonathan Goodwin, who built up media advisory firm LongAcre and sold it for £40m in 2007.

The fund’s founders have pledged to funnel around 10% of the cash into not-for-profit schemes to boost entrepreneurship and help budding internet executives.

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