U.K. Software Maker Huddle Mulls IPO After Raising $51 Million

Huddle has raised $51 million from investors to extend online-collaboration tools and add employees as the software company heads toward an initial public offering.

“Our plan will be that this will take us to an IPO,” Andy McLoughlin, one of the founders and head of strategy and product development, said in an interview. Still, there’s no firm schedule for the share sale and “we’ve seen several of our peers pulling theirs back.”

The funding round, led by Zouk Capital as well as Hermes GPE and all existing investors, will help finance new versions of software for devices using Google Inc.’s Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS operating systems, and Zouk partner Nathan Medlock will join the board. Huddle, founded in London in 2006, makes cloud-based programs for enterprises and governments that let users share files and collaborate on projects from different locations.

European companies have been attracting more venture capital, as the amount invested rose 5 percent to 3.4 billion euros ($4.2 billion) last year, according to the European Venture Capital Association. U.S. investors accounted for more than a third of the total. More than 3,000 companies were backed and startups attracted the majority of investment.

McLoughlin said a third of the funds will go to the engineering team to increase Huddle’s scale, a third will go to expand the sales team and a third will go to marketing.

The company is also expanding its services to governments and is working to complete security clearance in the U.S., McLoughlin said. The company’s customers include NASA, the U.K.’s National Health Service and the government of Greenland.

“Even though we’re at a pretty good scale now and have a good center of gravity in the U.K., we’re still relatively small in the U.S.,” McLoughlin said. The focus will be on “brand building.”

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