Partech heads MBO as European VC scene shifts again

The tectonic plates of Euopean venture capital are shifting once more as the France-based VC Partech International Partners (PIP) launches a management buyout from its Partech parent. The move looks like it was prompted by overtures from the US business, which the Eurepan team has taken advantage of. Some might say there are now “great expectations” of PIP.

The buyout by European managing partners Philippe Collombel and Jean-Marc Patouillaud is being supported by Partech investors, including European investors CIC 123Venture, Masseran, AGF Private Equity, CDC Entreprises, Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance and SGAM Alternative Investments.

PIP will continue its trans-Atlantic investment in IT, media and Internet companies and will instead partner with Partech’s American team, based in San Francisco, which is led by Vincent Worms, one of Partech’s original founders, and partners Nicolas El Baze and Tim Wilson. PIP has the “Partech Funds V” fund to play with in Europe and in North America, as well as overseeing all the European investments of the previous Partech funds, which include portfolio companies AirWide, B3G Telecom, DailyMotion, DiBcom, Goojet, JobPartners, Qype and Total Immersion. Pip has also invested in Acco, TVTrip, Replay, and RockYou!

What’s significant about this? Some VCs appear to be choosing to split off to create independent European entities. In June last year Benchmark Europe, one of Europe’s largest venture capital firms, split from its US counterpart, and changed its name to Balderton Capital, showing that the European outpost of the US had become successful enough to do business under its own name. Others (like Accel and Atlas) are not taking that route. Still others (like DFJ) are using local teams (DFJ Esprit) to enter the European market, and others (Index) have no US presence- although they do use a US PR firm, if you call that a presence.

UPDATE: A European VC contacts me to comment: “”It means two things, number one the Trans Atlantic venture capital model does not work. There is no point in having one fund or one firm which is investing in the UK and in the US because there are no synergies that is specific to venture capital… though there are synergies with later stage stuff. The second issue is one of returns. That is, when the US are making money, it’s not always the case that Europe is making money and vice versa.”