"la Caixa" creates new venture capital fund for biotechnology and science spin-offs
<p>The instrument, endowed with €20 millions, aims to invest in companies in the very early stages of development</p>
"la Caixa" has launched a new venture capital fund endowed initially with €20 millions for scientific projects, mainly in biotechnology, that are spin off from universities and research centers.
The fund, created under the framework of the INNVIERTE program managed by Caixa Capital Risc and promoted by the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), is called Caixa Innvierte Start and is looking to invest in companies in the early stages with disruptive technology and a long development cycle (that need at least two years to put a product/service on the market).
The aim is to support science companies from the very beginning, when they are in the embryonic stages and normally have difficulty attracting investors, according to "la Caixa". In this phase, companies are taking shape and still need funding to validate their technology or scientific hypothesis, add to their team and develop their product. Plus, most scientists don’t have business management experience and the step of transferring research results to a start-up isn't something that is well consolidated.
The fund’s first investment was part of the €11.5 millions raised by Aelix Therapeutics, a company that is developing an HIV vaccine. So far, they haven’t selected any other projects, but "la Caixa" confirms that they will invest between €500,000 and €2 millions in 10 to 20 companies. Although biotechnology is the main focus of investment, the fund hasn’t discarded the option of investing in photonics, semiconductors and nanotechnology, among others.
This newest one is the eighth venture capital fund managed by Caixa Capital Risc. The firm believes that, given the characteristics of the sector, science start-ups need long-term guidance. This is how the idea came about to invest in the early stages through Caixa Innvierte Start and continue later series of funding through other Caixa Capital Risc funds like Caixa Capital BioMed and Caixa Innvierte BioMed II, which so far have invested in 19 Spanish science spin-offs.
"la Caixa" expects to increase the €20-millions endowment with public and private contributions to reach at least €30 millions.