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Deal Round-up 09/07/01

PolyTechnos invests in NascaCell; Picsel Raises £7.7m; ePlanet raises E101m; FISPE buy into bonmarché; InStranet Raises $14.7 Million; Picochip secures $7m

PolyTechnos funds invest in NascaCell

PolyTechnos Venture-Partners, the venture capital advisory company, has announced an investment in NascaCell, a start-up company located in Tutzing near Munich.

NascaCell is a functional proteomics biotech company dedicated to developing small molecule drugs. Their key target customers are the pharmaceutical industry and mature second-stage biotech companies.

Picsel Raises £7.7m in first round

Softbank Europe Ventures and BancBoston Capital have invested £7.7m in first round financing in Picsel Technologies, a Glasgow-based firm. Picsel has developed a cross-platform multimedia content engine, that enables most types of files and objects to be viewed and manipulated on mobile devices, set-top boxes, games consoles, domestic internet appliances and in-car systems.

The company will use the funding to support further product development, and global marketing and sales initiatives.

ePlanet raises E101m

ePlanet, a publicly traded Italian telecom and broadband company, has finalized a commitment for approximately E101 million from AngelVentures, Athena Private Equity, Banca Intesa, the telecom company Sirti, and individual investors reports VentureWire. AngelVentures led the round with an investment of $10.4 million for an 11.3% stake in ePlanet.

The company will use the financing as operating capital.

Friends Ivory and Sime takes stake in bonmarché

Friends Ivory and Sime Private Equity [FISPE] have taken a 20% stake in bonmarché, the privately owned value womens clothing retailer.

The Chima brothers, Gurchait and Gurnaik, who started the business nearly 20 years ago have agreed to sell the business to a new investment vehicle, bonmarché Group Ltd., in exchange for cash and shares. They will retain a 70% stake in bonmarché Group Ltd., with 20% held by FISPE and the remaining 10% by other members of the bonmarché board.

FISPE will invest a total of £7.3 million in the business, with Bank of Scotland providing a further £34 million in bank loans and credits.

InStranet Raises $14.7 Million in third round

InStranet, developers of software for Enterprise Information Exchange (EIX) applications, announced today that it has raised $14.7 million in third round financing. Benchmark Capital and Donald L. Lucas, a leading U.S. venture capital investor, joined in co-funding the round.

Benchmark Capital is investing through its new Benchmark Europe I fund. Original investors Business, Apollo Invest, RSA and Galileo Partners are also participating.

InStranet will use the funding to expand its sales and marketing initiatives, and to further product development. Headquartered in New York with offices in London, Paris, and technology distribution partnerships throughout Europe and Asia, the company is seeking to address the rapidly growing market for EIX applications.

Picochip secures $7m first round funding

A UK start-up, Picochip, that designs semiconductors targeting the 3G mobile base station market, announced that it has secured $7m in first round investment from Pond Venture Partners and Atlas Venture.

Picochip's chip technology allows the development of base stations that mobile operators can cost effectively deploy and upgrade, without having to replace obsolete hardware each time. Both private equity firms saw parallels and some synergy with their previous investments in this sector.