Candy Crush Saga backer plays down tech bubble fears
Wednesday 11 June 2014
One of the private backers behind Just Eat and the video games developer King has defended their disappointing stock market listings, denying that investors were "hoodwinked" into buying at inflated valuations.
Shares in the online takeaway portal Just Eat and the Candy Crush Saga games developer King fell below their listing prices earlier this year, and both are still trading below their IPO pricing.
The London-based venture capital firm Index Ventures was an early investor in both companies and sold shares into both public offerings.
Ben Holmes, a partner at Index, said: "With all these businesses that have gone public, there's no way in which we feel that we've hoodwinked investors and got them to buy into something at a crazy price. They're all great businesses.
"The share prices have gone down but the businesses have done quite well. I think it's important to decouple that. They are very difficult businesses to value – they're both growing incredibly fast in potentially massive markets. Historically many of the great companies did not have a big first-day pop – Facebook and Google being good examples. We're not overly concerned."
Other digital businesses such as the online whitegoods retailer AO World have also struggled on the public market, and the German investment bank Berenberg last week expressed concerns that a tech "bubble" could be emerging, similar to the one that crashed stock markets at the turn of the millennium.
Mr Holmes dismissed such fears, saying: "I think there's a very different complexion to businesses going public now compared to the type of businesses going public 15 years ago, where the market seemed to lap up anything with an internet flavour. The market is still very discerning, particularly in Europe."
Mr Holmes' comments come as Index Ventures launches its seventh fund to invest in early-stage technology businesses. Index will focus investment from the $550m (£330m) fund on key "hubs" around the world – London, San Francisco, Berlin, New York, Stockholm and the Nordics, Tel Aviv and Paris.
Index's past investments include Skype, Dropbox, LoveFilm and Asos.
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