One of Europe's most bullish software investors has raised $400 million for the post-pandemic future

  • European venture capitalists remain bullish about local enterprise software startups, despite signals the pandemic may lead to a spending crunch.
  • VC firm Dawn Capital has closed a $400 million fund to invest in enterprise startups across data, security, fintech, and the future of work.
  • "Will [the pandemic] determine the fate of B2B software? Hell no," said Dawn partner Evgenia Plotnikova.
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One of Europe's most bullish investors into enterprise tech, Dawn Capital, has raised its biggest fund to date in expectation the sector will continue to explode.

Dawn has closed a $400 million fund to invest in enterprise startups across data, the future of work, fintech, and security.

The London-based firm has had a number of unicorn hits in its portfolio, with email security firm Mimecast going public in 2015, and payments firm iZettle being acquired by PayPal for $2.2 billion in 2018.

Current "unicorn" startups with a valuation above $1 billion include data intelligence startup Collibra, valued at $2.3 billion, and enterprise AI startup Dataiku.

Dawn partner Evgenia Plotnikova and her fellow fund managers continue to be optimistic about Europe's fast-growing enterprise tech sector, which attracted $7.9 billion in investment in 2019, per data from Atomico.

That's despite previous reporting from BI on industry pessimism for Europe's software startups going into 2021, with one investor forecasting a fourth-quarter "bloodbath."

Plotnikova said economic shock from the coronavirus wouldn't impact the overall trend of growth in the sector, however.

"Our optimism for B2B software is anchored in the firm belief that it's a huge market … there's still a long road," she said. "From a tactical perspective, are there sometimes wobbles on the road in the journey of a startup? One hundred percent yes. Will they determine the fate of B2B software? Hell no."

Another venture capital source, commenting anonymously, likewise disputed a drop in enterprise tech growth, saying that the coronavirus had sped up the move to digitization.

Plotnikova added that when "the Goliaths are challenged, this is the opportunity for the Davids to go into this market and be as agile as ever."

Dawn will continue to invest checks of between $5 million and $20 million in early-stage B2B startups. Plotnikova said the firm had attracted all of its prior fund investors — known as limited partners — as well as a number of new US and Asian investors. These comprise undisclosed pension funds, family offices, and state backers such as the UK's British Business Bank.

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