Research centre imec announces the launch of the imec.istart future fund, a new investment fund for Seed and Series A funding of startups around digital technology. The new fund, managed by an independent fund management, aims to further support the companies in the imec.istart portfolio on their path to venture capital. The fund can count on investments from both institutional and private investors. In a first phase, 25 million euros of capital has already been raised.
In 2011, Belgium did not yet have an ecosystem for startups and scale-ups. Imec wanted to change that, De Cleyn looks back. “We came from the software corner. You don't need that much to start a startup. With relatively limited resources, you can still have a strong impact. With imec.istart we wanted to help create an ecosystem for starting technology companies. ”
For promising tech startups to grow into the great companies of tomorrow, access to funding at every stage of development is crucial. Imec.istart provides these startups with seed capital of 100.000 to 250.000 euros. Fast growers need follow-up funding quickly, but this has become more difficult in the current investment climate. To bridge this financing gap, the imec.istart future fund was set up. The fund allows for longer-term and larger-scale investments in a number of companies from the imec.istart program.
"With the creation of this new fund, we can help the most promising digital startups from the imec.istart family grow even faster into fully-fledged growth companies," says Sven De Cleyn, director of imec.istart. "In this challenging financial and socio-economic climate, we continue to build solutions to encourage entrepreneurship and grow young companies."
The imec.istart future fund, independently managed by managing partners Ruth Janssens and Kris Vandenberk, pursues a diverse portfolio. It can draw on the most promising tech startups from the imec.istart programs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. Besides providing seed capital, the fund also has the ability to participate in larger funding rounds (Series A and B) in co-investment with other funds. Moreover, the imec.istart future fund will also be able to make limited investments in other promising tech companies that are not from the imec.istart portfolio, but which fit within the same scope.
The fund can count on investments from institutional parties such as PMV, Finance&invest.brussels, Noshaq, ING Belgium and private parties such as COI, imec, the family office of the Clarebout family, as well as some business angels. Furthermore, successful tech entrepreneurs and founders of alumni companies from the imec.istart program are also investing, such as Ewout Meyns and Mattias Putman (ex-PieSync). This is a time-limited fund with an active investment period of 5 years. After this first closing of 25 million euros, the fund can raise further capital in a second round up to a total order of magnitude of 50 million euros.
Fund manager Kris Vandenberk sees a lot of interest in participating in the fund: "We see a strong interest from both institutional parties and private investors to participate in this new fund initiative. Due to the unique market position linked to imec.istart, we are confident that we will have the most promising early-stage tech companies on our radar."
Fund manager Ruth Janssens adds: "In addition to funding, our aim is to provide strategic support to these companies through a broad network, including the imec and imec.istart network, in order to maximize the fund's return-on-investment. In the coming months, we will offer the opportunity for other investors, business angels and family offices to also participate."
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