The European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have launched six new pan-European VC funds-of-funds.
VentureEU is a venture capital funding programme, backed by €410m in fresh funding from the EU, intended to help attract larger private institutional investors to the VC industry.
First announced in 2015 as part of the Commission's capital markets union action plan, the fund-of-funds will contribute capital to a selection of VC funds, focused on at least four European countries each. These VC funds will in turn invest in a range of startups and SMEs across sectors, including information and communications technology, life sciences and energy.
The EU's investment in VentureEU will be managed by the EIF, under the supervision of the Commission, and rolled out by six private fund managers.
The programme's aim is to attract pension funds, insurers and other global investors that currently find the fund sizes in the European venture capital market too small. While the average VC fund in Europe manages around €65m, the funds need to be able to raise at least €150m in order to attract larger private investors.
Following a review under the Capital Markets Union plan on 1 March 2018, a revised European Venture Capital Fund (EuVECA) regulation entered into force, making it easier for more fund managers to market under its EU passport.
The Commission is also considering a new initiative called the European Scale-up Action for Risk Capital (ESCALAR) to boost venture capital in Europe and increase its investment capacity.
In the UK, a £4bn national investment fund was announced in mid-2017 to address a shortfall in follow-on funding and cushion the blow to VCs that are likely to lose EIF backing post-Brexit.
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