Banque Sanpaolo, the French subsidiary of the Italian SanPaolo-Imi banking group, has launched its second FCPI venture capital fund, Uni Innovation II. Sigefi Ventures Gestion, part of Siparex, the French investment firm, will manage the fund.

Bruno Francez, director of investment management at Banque Sanpaolo, said: “The management team is what makes the difference between two FCPIs. That’s why we have chosen Sigefi Ventures, which is a management company whose expertise is recognised by everyone, in particular in the field of non-quoted companies.” The ten-strong Sigefi Ventures team, which operates from Paris, Lyon and San Mateo (California), specialises in start-up investments in IT, life science and microelectronics.

Last year, Sanpaolo launched its first FCPI (Fonds Commun de Placement Innovation), a venture capital fund that allows individuals investing in the fund to reclaim 25 per cent of their investment as a tax incentive. Uni Innovation I, also managed by Siparex, raised EURO4.3 million. The new fund will be invested in innovative non-quoted companies (60 per cent) and quoted-investment funds (OPCVMs).

In September, Siparex launched its fifth FCPI, Generation Innovation. Oddo Asset Management, a French asset management group, is acting as placement agent for this fund, which aims to raise up to EURO30 million. Other FCPIs managed by Siparex include ING (F) Actions Innovation 1 and 2 for ING-Ferri and Indocam Innovation for Credit Agricole-Indocam. By the end of the year Siparex expects venture capital funds under its management to total EURO200 million, roughly a quarter of the total funds managed by the group.