Equity funds in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and France have announced fund closings with total commitments of EUR 90 million from the European Investment Fund (EIF), backed by the European Commission's COSME and Horizon 2020 InnovFin programmes.

These four agreements will enable fund managers to invest equity in promising start-ups, SMEs and midcaps needing early-stage to growth-stage capital investments. By mobilising other investors, including funds from the private sector, this is expected to result in eventual overall investments of more than EUR 200 million.

The Dutch EUR 50 million SET Fund II C.V. will support the underserved market of early-stage companies in Europe active in the cleantech sector, particularly smart energy solutions, over the next seven years. The fund will target around 13 companies. The Panakès Fund I will be the first Italian-based fund solely focused on the medtech sector (i.e. medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT). It will focus on areas such as personalised medicine, cardiovascular, oncology, immunology and orthopaedics over the next five years.

Bullnet Capital III SCR will deploy EUR 40 million to invest in 11 Spanish early-stage ICT companies with a strong intellectual property component and a business-to-business model. The fund will primarily support companies operating in sectors such as semiconductors, engineering software, and hardware-software systems. CapHorn 2 Fund recently held a first closing and will support companies in the digital sector across Europe with a main focus in France, in particularly targeting digital solutions in traditional sectors over the next 4 years. The Fund will target around 20 companies.

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert commented: “I am delighted that the first four funds under the European Commission's COSME and Horizon 2020 InnovFin programmes have reached closing. High-tech companies in the digital, ICT, medtech and cleantech sectors can benefit from investment and industry know-how from the funds we are working with in Italy, France the Netherlands and Spain, in order to scale up their businesses and boost innovation within the EU.”

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Today's announcement of EU venture capital investment in innovation and growth of European SMEs is very good news. EU-funding will help to give a boost to high-potential companies active in different sectors, such as clean technology, improving medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT, and the digital economy. Together with private sector partners and the EIF, we are making a difference to our citizens, reinforcing investor confidence throughout Europe and creating growth and jobs."

More information

About the European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund's (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both 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.

About the COSME Equity Facility for Growth (EFG)

The Equity Facility for Growth (EFG) is dedicated to investments in risk-capital funds that provide venture capital and mezzanine finance to expansion and growth-stage SMEs, in particular those operating across borders. It is expected that some 500 firms will receive equity financing through the programme, with overall investment reaching up to EUR 4 billion. The EFG is part of COSME, the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020. It has a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion and at least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe.

About InnovFin SME Venture Capital

InnovFin SME Venture Capital is an early stage equity product offered in cooperation with the European Investment Fund aims at improving access to risk finance by early-stage RDI-driven SMEs and small midcaps through supporting early-stage risk capital funds that invest, on a predominantly cross-border basis, in individual enterprises. SMEs (and small midcaps) located in Member States or in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries are eligible as final beneficiaries. The aggregate investments to venture capital funds made out of InnovFin SME Venture Capital are expected to support between EUR 1.6 to EUR 2 billion of equity financing to final beneficiaries.

InnovFin SME Venture Capital is part of InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators, the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services developed under Horizon 2020 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will help to inject up to EUR 48 billion in investments in Research and Innovation across Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/.