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Frontline Ventures raises $80m fund for US software firms entering Europe

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Frontline Ventures on Thursday announced a new fund for US-based software companies interested in expanding into Europe. (Frontline Ventures/Emma Synnott)

Dublin-based Frontline Ventures on Thursday launched a new $80m (£62m) fund to invest in growth-stage US software firms that are expanding into the European market.

The fund, FrontlineX, will invest up to $5m in later-stage funding rounds in companies, marking a departure from Frontline’s laser focus on early stage or “seed” investment in fledgling startups.

Frontline said on Thursday that its team was “uniquely positioned” to offer US companies the support required to expand into Europe, noting that “flawed go-to-market strategies and weak local talent networks” can cost such firms millions of dollars in foregone revenue.

The venture capital firm, which also has offices in London and San Francisco, said that the international experience of its partners, who have worked at the likes of Google and Twitter, would help it develop “tailored strategies” for European expansion.

FrontlineX will be led by Stephen McIntyre, a former vice-president of Twitter in Europe, and Brennan O’Donnell, a new Frontline partner who previously held go-to-market leadership roles at Google.

The best B2B software companies earn at least 30% of their revenue from Europe by the time they file for an initial public offering (IPO), according to research conducted by Frontline.

“But even the biggest names in tech fail to get there because of avoidable mistakes when they land. We’ve learned about international expansion the hard way as operators,” said McIntyre.

“The good news is that most of these problems are known and solvable. But there’s no simple playbook, no one-size-fits-all solution. We take a hands-on approach with every company to ensure they make a fast start when they land and expand,” he said.

Frontline has already made a series of investments from the new $80m funding, including in the series B funding round of TripActions, which is now valued at $4bn (£3bn).

The raise brings to $200m the total funds under management by Frontline, which has become known for a series of cunning investments in early stage startups.

In 2015, the venture capital firm wrote the first cheque for Pointy, a Dublin-based startup that was recently acquired by Google for more than $160m.