e20m for Speed Ventures

Scandinavian incubator Speed Ventures closed a second round of financing securing o20 million in a new share issue. Although funding from both previous and new investors reflects confidence in the company, this news follows an announcement in December that the company would be laying off 22 of its 65 staff. The new capital will be used to continue Speed Ventures’ programme of investments in telecoms and Internet.

The incubator raised e70 million last March from a substantial group of investors led by Charterhouse Group International, Schroder Ventures and Soros Private Equity. New investors in this round include Enel, the Italian utility group with GSM and ISP operations. Current shareholders Charterhouse, Riverside Management Group, Tekbanc, Soros Private Equity and Bear Stearns have all re-invested alongside new financial investor RDIG.

At the same time as announcing it had secured new funding offices were closed in London, Paris, Munich and Madrid. On completion of its first funding round Speed Ventures declared its intention to become the first global incubator. The company looked well placed to achieve this with staff based in Amsterdam, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Singapore and Stockholm.

However, the downsizing plan first announced at the end of last year cited market conditions and increased co-operations with industrial partners as reasons for reducing staff numbers.

Speed Ventures is a full service incubator, which together with Finnish telecoms company Sonera, launched Breedlab, a coaching programme for its entrepreneurs. Founded in 1998 Speed Ventures currently has a portfolio of 24 companies.