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Austrian tech gets boost

Gamma Capital Partners (GCP) has reached a first close of €10 million on its Gamma II fund, targeting technology opportunities in Austria and neighbouring countries. The fund will remain open to investors for another six months and is capped at €25 million.

GCP was formed in 2002 by three experienced VCs Oliver Grabherr, Hannes Ambacher and Klaus Matzka to take over the management of VC incubator ilab24 and repositioning the vehicle as a generalist technology VC fund. The team is being strengthened further by Burkhard Feurstein and Nikolaus Spieckermann, both joining from Invest Equity early stage.

Commitments to the fund have come from leading Austrian financial institutions including Investkredit Bank, Raiffeisen Landesbank Upper Austria and insurers Merkur Versicherung, Oberösterreichische Versicherung, Vorarlberger Landesversicherung and Wüstenrot Versicherung.

Oliver Grabherr, managing partner is upbeat about investment opportunities: “In addition to attractive valuations, competition has virtually withered away – we get proposals from as far as Hamburg and Switzerland and appear to be one of the very few active tech investors in German-speaking Europe considering attractive smaller opportunities.”

GCP will invest between €500,000 and €2 million for minority stakes in information and communication technology companies, life sciences and medical equipment, as well as physical sciences. Gamma II has made two investments so far in Graz-based medical equipment manufacturer CNSystems and Vienna-based biotech firm igeneon. At present GCP has over ten projects in the investment pipeline and expects to close up to four further deals in 2003.