50 million euros for nanotech and IoT start-ups thanks to new KBC investment fund

Nanotech & IoT start-ups

Managed by KBC Securities, the KBC Focus Fund will invest around 50 million euros in start-ups and scale-ups active in deep tech – themes like nanotechnology, microelectronics and the Internet of Things. ‘With Belgium as a knowledge centre, European deep tech has the potential to become a worldwide reference, just like the biotech sector’, says Koen Schrever, Head of Investment Services at KBC Securities.

From idea to IPO

The KBC Focus Fund wants to play a central role in building the ecosystem of high-tech start-ups and businesses that is gradually maturing in Belgium. KBC Securities – KBC Group’s brokerage firm – will oversee the fund. It has the knowledge and the contacts to support entrepreneurs throughout every stage of their venture’s growth. KBC Securities can support firms from initial idea to IPO, allowing it to meet their financial needs faster.

Right from the start, the KBC Focus Fund boasts 50 million euros in available capital, which it will invest in young businesses active in nanotechnology, microelectronics and IoT. It’s a new strand within the KBC Start it Fund, which currently focuses on start-ups and fintech firms. KBC Group also invests in other growth funds, such as imec.Xpand, Gemma Frisius Fonds and Qbic.

‘Thanks to our investments in the university funds and in imec.Xpand, we already have a pretty good idea of what’s going on within the sector. Meanwhile, our analysts are already using their thorough knowledge of the sector to track listed high-tech firms. Our M&A and Corporate Finance departments, lastly – not to mention KBC Corporate Banking – focus on this sector too, which clearly shows what our Belgian SMEs are capable of. So we have deep local roots, which allow us to spot attractive opportunities for our participating interests very quickly’, Koen Schrever says.

Promising deep-tech ecosystem

'You need three things if you want to develop a promising ecosystem’, Koen Schrever continues. ‘First and foremost, there have to be outstanding research institutions in place, with which to attract talent from all over the world. Next up, entrepreneurs – preferably serial entrepreneurs – are important when it comes to building the businesses. And the last element is obviously institutions and investors willing to finance this risk’, he concludes.

If all three of those pillars are present, you have the basis for a promising ecosystem. The life sciences and biotech sectors are excellent examples in Belgium. KBC Securities is convinced that all three ingredients for the deep-tech sector can be found in our region.

‘Thanks to imec, the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, and the Belgian universities, the first requirement is certainly met. And the entrepreneurship built up in the life sciences and biotech is also set to extend into deep-tech fields. When it comes to financing, KBC Group can provide the necessary boost’, Koen Schrever stresses.

Facts and figures

The KBC Focus Fund comprises 50 million euros in available capital. It has recruited two strong investment managers, who will work with Koen Schrever to seek out attractive investments and provide companies with professional guidance.

  • Nuno Carvalho joins from Bekaert, where he oversaw all the firm’s acquisitions and investments. He also chaired the Corporate Venturing Network.
  • Rudi Severijns, meanwhile, has wide experience as an investment manager with various investment companies, including Gimv, Capital-E and, most recently, ING and BAN Vlaanderen’s Ark Angels Activator Fund.

About KBC Focus Fund

The KBC Focus Fund is a € 50 million venture capital fund focusing on deep tech, with the ambition of helping to raise sectors active in nanotechnology, microelectronics and the Internet of Things to the next level. The fund will be active in Belgium and the surrounding countries, where a number of acknowledged centres of expertise for these technologies are located.

The KBC Focus Fund, which KBC Securities will manage, will build on KBC Group’s network and expertise. KBC Securities enjoys a solid knowledge of the tech ecosystem within and beyond Belgium, with teams experienced in M&A, Corporate Finance and Research & Sales. As part of the KBC Group, the KBC Focus Fund aims to be a long-term partner for entrepreneurs.

For more information, see https://www.kbcsecurities.com/...

About KBC Securities

KBC Securities is KBC Group’s independent brokerage firm, with dedicated offices in Brussels, Budapest and New York. As the most important Belgian investment bank on Euronext Brussels, KBC Securities is the leader in capital market transactions, with a market share of around 70%. KBC Securities also boasts a strong position in debt capital, M&A and Research. It offers tailored financial services to three major client groups: companies, institutional investors and growth funds. Thanks to its expertise, knowledge and inspiring ideas, KBC Securities is able to deliver tailored solutions to all these different clients. KBC Securities is affiliated with Oaklins (www.oaklins.com), enabling it to call on an extensive international M&A network. For more information, see www.kbcsecurities.com