NBG Venture Capital, a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece, has announced the formation of an early stage technology fund, the NBG Tech Fund. The fund aims to raise up to EURO80 million and will be advised by Microsoft. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, managing director of NBG Venture Capital, predicts an explosion of technology spending in Greece in the next couple of years.
The fund, NBG Venture Capital’s third, has been launched to invest in TMT start-up and early stage companies in Greece and Europe. Mitsotakis expects around half of the fund’s investments to be in Greece but the firm also takes a keen interest in Balkan technology as it is already established there as an investor. The fund will focus on developing technology opportunities in IT, telecoms, Internet and media, with particular emphasis on Greek companies with ambitions for international development. An initial closing of EURO60 million is anticipated at the end of September.
The National Bank of Greece will be the cornerstone investor in the fund, providing EURO30 million. Other investors include the General Bank, an independent Greek financial institution, and the European Investment Fund, which has board approval for a EURO20 million commitment – its first investment in a Greek VC fund.
Mitsotakis is happy with the EURO60 million already committed but would like to increase it to EURO70 million or EURO80 million with the help of European fund-of-funds, mainly for strategic reasons. The National Bank of Greece is one of Microsoft’s largest customers in the region and the strong relationship between the two has led to an agreement whereby Microsoft will provide strategic and technical advice on investments.
The fund is also hoping to develop relationships with research centres and university technology parks.
NBG Venture Capital was established in December 1999 to develop the bank’s venture capital business in Greece and South east Europe. Since then it has invested around EURO20 million in ten companies. The firm currently advises two captive private equity funds, the EURO44 million NBG Greek Fund and the
EURO15 million NBG Balkan Fund. It is also involved in the management of a $45 million fund dedicated to private equity investments in Turkey, together with JP Morgan and Garanti Bank, a subsidiary of the Dogus Group. The technology fund is the first NBG fund to include investors from outside the bank group.