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SINTEF launches NOK 500 million seed investment fund for start-ups

SINTEF has successfully established a new NOK 500 million early stage investment fund to develop new technology companies. The European Investment Fund and several private, Norwegian investors are partners in the fund

Group picture  from launch event
Left to right: CEO Sverre Thornes, KLP; Policy Officer Katerina Kokesova, European Commission; CEO Unn Dehlen, Gjensidigestiftelsen; Portfolio Manager Kyrre Lindquist, Gjensidigestiftelsen; Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen; CEO Alexandra Bech Gjørv, SINTEF; Secretary General Maria Leander, EIF (European Investment Fund); Managing Director Reidar Stokke, SpareBank1 SMN Invest; CEO Terje Andersen, Orkla Investments; Portfolio Manager Robert Meisingset, MP Pensjon; Investment Manager Nur Ozdemir, EIF; CEO Anders Lian SINTEF TTO / SINTEF Venture. (Photo: SINTEF/Thor Nielsen)

The new seed investment fund SINTEF Venture V will promote the commercialisation of research and development results. It will invest in – and develop – new micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SME) whose activities are based on technology originating from research at SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), both based in Trondheim. The fund benefits from the InnovFin Equity Facility for Early Stage with the financial backing of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.

An important part of SINTEF's social mission

"The commercialisation of research results and the development of new companies and jobs is part of our mission, which the government expects us to deliver on," said Alexandra Bech Gjørv, SINTEF's Chief Executive Officer. "Access to capital in the seed development phase is important and especially challenging. We are delighted to have partnered with long-term investors that see the potential in our research."

The new seed investment fund will manage a total of 500 million Norwegian kroner (NOK), which with today's currency conversion rates amounts to approximately EURO 50 million, and consists of the following investors:

  • European Investment Fund: NOK 155 million
  • SINTEF Venture: NOK 110 million
  • KLP: NOK 75 million
  • Gjensidigestiftelsen: NOK 50 million
  • Sparebankstiftelsen DNB: NOK 40 million
  • SpareBank1 SMN Invest: NOK 30 million
  • MP Pensjon: NOK 20 million
  • Reitan Kapital: NOK 10 million
  • Orkla: NOK 10 million

This is the fifth and largest fund to date managed by SINTEF TTO, the Technology Transfer Office of SINTEF.

SINTEF Venture IV was established in 2014 along with the European Investment Fund (EIF) and SpareBank1 SMN, with an investment capital of NOK 209 million. Managing Director of SINTEF TTO, Anders Lian, emphasises that both investors have played an important role in establishing the new investment fund.

"We are delighted to have strengthened the investor base with new, ambitious partners. All the investors have a joint commitment to building a strong value chain for the commersialisation of new technologies, and creating value for society", said Anders Lian.

EIF's largest investment in Norway

EIF is EU's specialist provider of risk finance for SMEs across the EU and in EFTA countries. Its investment in SINTEF Venture V, which is EIF's largest investment to date in Norway, is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

Speaking at the signing event in Trondheim, EIF Secretary General, Maria Leander, commented: "I am delighted to be signing our first InnovFin equity agreement in Norway, to support innovative Norwegian businesses via SINTEF Venture V."

Early stage investments in start-up companies

SINTEF Venture V will provide seed capital, which is defined as early-stage investment in start-up companies. This stage in the commercialisation process is challenging and critical for companies, with few parties involved and high risks, and they usually find it difficult to find investment capital. To ensure that the knowledge and technology being developed in research and development projects is put to use, SINTEF has chosen to invest its own funds in this stage, in order to create jobs and viable companies based on ideas from research activities.

The Fund's investments will focus on areas covered by the societal challenges of Horizon 2020, such as life sciences, clean energy and ICT.

Published 05 June 2018
Communications Director

Contact

SINTEF

EIF

  • Media relations at European Investment Bank, David Yormesor - + 352 24 85 81 346 - d.yormesor@eif.org

About SINTEF

SINTEF is one of Europe's largest research organisations, with multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of technology, the natural sciences and the social sciences. SINTEF is an independent foundation and has conducted contract research and development projects for the private and public sectors since 1950. SINTEF has 2000 employees from 75 countries and annual revenues of three billion Norwegian kroner.

About EIF

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.

About InnovFin Equity

This financing is supported by InnovFin Equity with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments established under Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investment ("EFSI") set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. Through or alongside selected Venture Capital (VC), Business Angels (BA), Technology Transfer funds and funds-of-funds, the EU provides risk capital financing to enterprises, research organisations, universities in their proof-of-concept, pre-seed, seed, start-up and other early-stage phases allowing them to set up or reach their next stage of development.

InnovFin Equity investments, deployed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) can represent up to 50% of the total commitment to the financial intermediary whom shall present in its investment strategy sectors covered by Horizon 2020 including ICT, medical technologies, biotechnologies, green technologies, nanotechnologies, etc. In addition, the facility has been designed to feed into supporting Horizon 2020 objectives addressing societal challenges such as those related to resource efficiency, bio-economy, health and demographics, and climate change.