Press release from the European Commmission
- Target size of €50 m, Voima Ventures invests in highly innovative tech startups working on scienctific advances
- Project supported by EU budget through InnovFin Equity Facility and Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan.
The first venture capital (VC) fund in the Nordics investing purely in startups with a deep tech and science background was launched today. Voima Ventures combines science-driven innovation and teams with a global entrepreneurial mindset, and provides access to global networks and capital. Cornerstone investors are the European Investment Fund (EIF) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, backed by Finnish private and institutional investors. The EIF will provide up to €20 million, supported by the European Commission’s “InnovFin Equity Facility”, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
Deep tech startups are at the forefront of science-driven innovation and aim to address the biggest challenges humanity faces in areas such as medicine, transport and energy. Founded by serial entrepreneur and startup investor Inka Mero and former VTT Ventures Vice PresidentMikko Kumpulainen, Voima Ventures focuses on startups originating from a research and scientific background in the Nordics and Baltics. To pursue this mission Mero has gathered a founding team that combines the expertise of serial entrepreneurs and deep tech investors (Venture Partners Kalle Öhman and Harry Santamäki) with strong global marketing and tech community talent (Olga Balakina, Slush).
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The startups that Voima Ventures will invest in are making scientific breakthroughs and high-tech innovations that could change our lives. For such novel projects based in deep tech and science, financial support is crucial and this is where the EU is playing an important role. I wish Voima and its beneficiaries much success and I look forward to hearing about their future innovations. ”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, added: “Northern Europe is widely known as a hotbed for innovation in the tech sphere. The EIF believes that structuring this venture capital fund together with VTT will give innovative businesses the financial foothold they need to bring their ideas to life.”
“While deep tech investments in 2018 were 6.6 times up compared to the levels of investments in 2013, they still attract only 20% of total capital invested in Europe. Here in the Nordics the number is even lower*. As the largest global challenges require a combination of scientific innovation, entrepreneurship and capital, we strongly believe the next decade of ground-shaking companies come from the field of deep tech.” says Inka Mero, Founder and Managing Partner at Voima Ventures.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.
Voima Ventures has a multi-stage investment strategy with investments ranging from €150.000 to 500.000 pre- and seed rounds to €1 to 2 million A rounds, and is looking to make 25-30 investments from the fund. Their industry domains include bio and new materials, medical technologies and life sciences, imaging and optics, IoT and electronics, robotics, software & ICT and AI. In addition, Voima Ventures is managing VTT Ventures’ portfolio with 20 prominent deep tech companies including Solar Foods, Paptic and Dispelix.
Voima Ventures will establish a deep collaboration with the scientific community in the Nordics starting out with their strategic partner, VTT, as well as several Finnish universities. Moreover, Voima aims to work through open incubation program with VTT and University teams for talent matchmaking and networking.
The Investment Plan for Europe, known as the Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investment to generate jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Juncker Plan and provides first loss guarantees, enabling the EIB to invest in more projects that often come with greater risks. EFSI has already yielded tangible results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise more than €392 billion in investments, including €8.2 billion in Finland, and support 945 000 SMEs in the 28 Member States. More information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe is available here.
The EIF investment in Voima Ventures is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing.
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