Capricorn to raise IMEC tech fund

Belgian Capricorn Venture Partners and the IMEC research centre in Leuven will collaborate to support IMEC spinouts with start-up and seed capital from a €60m fund.

Capricorn Venture Partners, the Belgian venture capital firm, is planning to raise between €40 million and €60 million ($75 million) for the IMEC Technology Fund (ITF), launched alongside IMEC, the research centre based in Leuven, Belgium.


IMEC is a Belgium-based independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, specialising in next generation chip and systems re, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence.


Under the agreement, IMEC will identify spin-off initiatives internally and manage them through the pre-seed phase. Once a business plan and management team have been put in place, the spin-off proposal will be put to ITF for investment consideration.


Capricorn said it would raise the capital from local and international investors, and plans to hold a first close towards the end of the third quarter of 2004 at around €20 million to €25 million, allowing ITF to start investing.


 “The current economic situation has almost completely eroded the supply of venture capital, a state of affairs that is significantly slowing down technological entrepreneurship in Flanders,” says Gilbert Declerck, CEO of IMEC.


“We see ITF as an effective platform that will help young growth companies in bringing IMEC’s technology to the market,” said Jos Peeters, managing partner of Capricorn Venture Partners.


In the UK, IP2IPO runs a similar strategy, partnering with the research institutions at the Universities of Oxford, Southampton, York and King’s College London to commercialise intellectual property emanating from college departments. The company listed on the Alternative Investment Market in October last year, valuing the business at £111 million ($204 million; €162 million).