Dexia closes its VC operation

The Belgian bank is to close its venture capital division, shifting the bank’s focus to later stage development capital investments.

Belgian bank Dexia has announced the closure of its Dexia Ventures division in a move designed to reduce the firm’s exposure to early stage venture capital investments.

Dexia Ventures operated as a separate company within the Dexia Group, investing in the Internet, Comminications and Technology [ICT] sectors and high technology companies via its E45m fund. Dexia Ventures made investments of between E100,000 and E1m in high tech and ICT firms.

Dexia is now looking to shift its focus towards later stage – and arguably lower risk – investments following on from its acquisition of fellow Belgian bank Artesia in April last year. Dexia director Philippe Steverlynck said the bank’s focus would now move towards development capital investments. “The acquisition of Artesia brought with it a mid-corporate client base which will be more of a target sector going forward. We will have the capacity to back transactions within this sector although MBO will not necessarily be a key focus for us.” Steverlynck added that closure of the ventures division would produce cost-saving synergies across the bank.

Dexia has transferred four of the eight-strong team at Dexia Ventures to the bank’s corporate division, from where the remaining 20 portfolio investments will be managed until divestment.

Of these remaining venture capital investments, 17 were made in Belgian early stage businesses, with the remainder being allocated to US firms. Steverlynck said that only two of the firm’s remaining investments were likely to obtain follow-on investments.