Fund News, March 2010

Baltcap Latvia Raises €30M Venture Fund

Baltcap Latvia is the first venture capital firm to raise money under a recent European Investment Fund (EIF) initiative designed to promote small business.

The €30 million fund is also the first structured VC fund to be raised in the Baltics since the economic crisis hit the region. The fund will provide startup and expansion financing, and plans to build a diversified portfolio of 15 to 20 investments. It expects to make investments of as little as €300,000 and as much as €3 million.

EIF has provided €20 million for the fund and local private investors, including Parex Asset Management provided the additional €10 million.

“This is a hugely important transaction for the EIF and for Latvia,” says EIF Chief Executive Richard Pelly. “It is one of the first in the European Union and comes as a result of excellent collaboration between the Ministry of the Economy, Baltcap and the EIF to help enhance access to finance for Latvian SMEs.” —Aimee DonnellanDanish Seed Fund Targets €100M

Danish startup investor SEED Capital Denmark held a first close on €58.43 million for its second fund, which will invest in life science, Internet and cleantech companies.

“The fund-raising environment has been very difficult, but we have demonstrated a very good performance during the crisis, which convinced local investors to give us money,” says Managing Partner Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack.

The Danish state investment fund is the majority investor in the new vehicle, while the Danish government contributed €19 million through its venture fund Vækstfonden.

The firm aims to hit its €100 million target by the end of 2010 and will invest from the new fund in the second quarter of this year. The second close of the fund is scheduled to take place this summer.

SEED Capital had an active year in 2009, selling broadband company Fullrate to TDC and taking biotech company Evolva public in December. —Aimee Donnellan

Sofinnova Closes on €260M for Sixth Fund

Sofinnova Partners held a final close on its sixth fund, Sofinnova Capital VI, raising €260 million.

The French VC firm completed three landmark exits in 2009, which one source says won the firm multiples in the range of 3x to 10x.

Investors in the new fund included CDC Enterprises, Industrial & Financial Investments Co. and JP Morgan Asset Management.

Fund VI has already invested in eight startups and spinoffs in health care therapeutics, medical divices, green chemistry and wireless technologies.

Skandia Life Insurance Company and Partners Group advised Sofinnova on the fund-raising, while MVision Private Equity Advisers acted as placement agent. —Aimee Donnellan

Aster Holds First Close

Paris-based Aster Capital, formerly known as Schneider Electric Ventures, held a €70 million first close on its second venture fund, raising the capital from from French energy companies Alstom SA and Schneider Electric.

The fund’s final target is between €120 million and €150 million.

Aster plans to take minority interests in startup companies based in Europe, North America and Asia.

Founded in 2000, Aster Capital focuses on energy and environmental companies. With two venture capital funds totaling €120 million, its portfolio includes 17 active companies in Europe and North America. —Aimee Donnellan