Private Equity Spotlight: Investiere eyes French, German start-ups to create pan-European VC portfolio

17 November 2020 - 09:09 am UTC

by Ketaki Gokhale in Paris

Investiere, a Switzerland-based platform for venture capital investors, is looking to increase investment abroad in a bid to become a pan-European player and to take its yearly capital deployment rate to the CHF 100m mark in 2022, co-founder and CEO Steffen Wagner told Mergermarket.

 

The Zug-headquartered firm, which typically targets life sciences, information communication technology and tangible and hardware technology companies, expects to make seven or eight investments in France and a similar number in Germany next year, Wagner said. Deployment in each of these countries is likely to be in the EUR 7m-EUR 10m range, he added.

 

About half of that amount could be invested in UK businesses, where the firm will focus on life sciences and technology, especially in the cluster around Cambridge, he added.

 

Investiere expects a total investment volume of CHF 65m in 2021, up from a projected deployment of CHF 50m this year, Wagner said. Next year might be the first when more than half of its deals occur in non-Swiss businesses, he said. In 2020, approximately 40% of its investments have been in non-Swiss businesses, he added.

 

Of its 20 international investments, five have been in French companies, including biotech PathoQuest and on-demand transporter Trusk.

 

Investiere, which does not manage its own funds, screens the market to find start-ups looking to raise money and connects them with institutional and individual investors interested in allocating money to the VC asset class.

 

The firm has historically focused on Series A and pre-Series A rounds, but this year half the investments were in Series B raises, Wagner said. It will continue to invest in Series A rounds, while looking to add more B and C rounds, he said.

 

Because it does not raise capital in closed-end funds, Investiere has a longer investment horizon, Wagner said. It strives to offer investors a mix of horizons and exit multiples to help them diversify their portfolios, he said.

 

A “handful” of its portfolio companies are in advanced exit discussions, he added, declining to disclose details.

 

Pan-European partnerships

 

As part of its plans to have Europe-wide coverage, Investiere will be announcing a partnership with a European business angel network that will significantly expand its network of private investors, Wagner said, declining to give details because negotiations are private.

 

The firm is also in talks for partnerships with asset managers and private banks in other European countries, pitching its ability to offer their customers access to VC deals, he added.

 

An ideal partner would give Investiere significant reach in another European country, he said. If the firm succeeds in tapping investment opportunities in markets outside Switzerland, it will be able to offer individual investors the ability to put together pan-European VC portfolios, which would be a compelling value proposition. It would be “very logical” to ink such deals in France and Germany, he added.

 

The overall attractiveness of the VC asset class is growing, he said, and banks and private equity firms will increasingly look to access VC investment.

 

Founded in 2010 by Wagner and Lukas Weber, Investiere has offices in Zurich, Geneva and Berlin as well as Zug. The firm is backed by 68 business angels and by the Zürcher Kantonalbank, which took a minority stake in it in 2016.