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Agreement strengthens SINTEF’s tech transfer activity
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Published September 6, 2006

SINTEF has entered into a cooperation with the Four Seasons Venture Group, one of the Nordic region’s leading venture capital and private equity firms. The agreement provides SINTEF with increased access to capital and competence to industrialise ideas and technology that have sprung from its research environment.

The agreement stipulates that the Four Seasons Venture V (FSV V) will become a shareholder in two of SINTEF’s investment funds. These funds hold ownership stakes in eight companies founded on ideas generated within SINTEF’s research environment.

As a result of the agreement, FSV V owns 75% of Sinvent Venture AS and SINTEF Venture AS. SINTEF continues to hold the remaining 25%, and will continue to actively participate in the development of the companies in which the funds hold stakes.

Establishing a new fund and releasing resources for increased innovation
For SINTEF, the partnership will provide income and release resources which could be used to spark the creation of new technology and additional early-stage companies. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to the inventors and academic environments in SINTEF which generated the ideas now requiring further development toward commercialisation and production.

SINTEF has also created a new investment fund which will invest in new leading-edge technology. The agreement with Four Seasons Venture does not pertain to this new fund, other investment funds, or companies in which SINTEF holds ownership.

In the on-going work to develop leading-edge companies, SINTEF will continue to work with both Four Seasons Venture as well as other investment partners as needed.

Professional capital and competence:
“It is extremely demanding to develop ideas from research through to successful industrialisation. SINTEF’s strength lies in its ability to bring forth technology from its own environment and to contribute to the early-phase development of companies. To be successful in the next phases, it is critical to raise capital and bring in professional competence to take these companies further in competitive markets. Here Four Seasons Venture will contribute greatly with its experience and international marketing expertise,” says SINTEF’s President, Unni Steinsmo.

“Four Seasons Venture believes the cooperation with SINTEF is exciting. As an investment environment, we praise the work already completed to commercialise technology from SINTEF’s research divisions. Our role is to help develop these companies further into an industrialising phase, We are proud that Four Seasons Venture funds have invested close to NOK 200 million in the Trondheims-region over the past few years” says Andreas Teilman, Partner in Four Seasons Management. 

Demonstrate quality in the company portfolio
 “With this agreement, Four Seasons Venture is entering in as a partner in an entire portfolio of companies with roots in SINTEF. This demonstrates the quality of the portfolio and of the innovation-concept SINTEF has followed since 2002. The cooperation gives us renewed strength to focus along the same lines in order to create even more start-up companies,” says Unni Steinsmo.

Four Seasons Venture has earlier assisted in similar transactions through purchasing entire investment portfolios in Norway and Sweden. This includes the purchases of SND Invest in 2003 and Trøndelag Vekst in 2006, and also the transactions in Sweden involving Skandia Liv in 2005 and of Aggregate Media in 2006. 

Four Seasons Venture is a partnership with activities reaching out in the Nordic countries, and with 20-years experience developing small- and medium-sized technology companies. From its beginnings in 1985, Four Seasons Venture has demonstrated the strength and ability to work long-term with founders and co-owners. In deciding to sign this agreement, SINTEF placed great emphasis on Fours Season’s documented results in developing companies in Norway and the Nordic region.

Contact persons:

SINTEF:
Reidar Bye, Senior Executive Vice President, telephone: + 47 97 07 43 06
Anders Lian, CEO Sinvent AS, telephone: + 47 91 10 54 11

Four Seasons Management*:
Anders Teilman, Partner, telephone: 91 57 55 91
Knut Frigaard, Group Partner, telephone 90 18 67 89

* Four Seasons Management advises several funds in the Four Seasons Venture Group, including Four Seasons Venture V A/B K/S, now taking ownership in the to SINTEF funds.

Advisors for Four Seasons Venture in the transaction were Steinvender ASA (corporate finance), Schjødt (legal) og BDO Noraudit (financial).

Facts about The Four Seasons Venture Group:
The Four Seasons Venture Group is one of the Nordic region’s leading advisors for venture capital. The partnership was established in 1985, and today manages NOK 2.7 billion in direct investments and has offices in Oslo and Stockholm. The Four Seasons Venture funds invest both directly in individual companies and by purchasing portfolios of direct investments. In both markets, the company seeks, via active ownership, to help talented founders and leaders to build and develop leading companies. Prior and current investments include Agresso, Provida, Infostream, Opera Software, Tradedoubler, Chipcon, Odim, Biotec Pharmacon, Reslink, Reslab, SmartMotor and Ikivo.

The following companies comprise the portfolio in which Four Seasons Venture is investing:
SINTEF Venture AS and Sinvent Venture AS holds ownership stakes in the following eight companies: Biosergen AS, Comex AS, Crusin AS, Metaphor AS, Mison AS, Nacre AS, ResMan AS, ReVolt Technology AS.