Equitis to manage French funds

The secondary fund manager has been chosen to manage two venture funds comprising investments in the technology and healthcare sectors.

Equitis, the French secondary fund manager, has announced that it has taken over the role of fund manager at two funds specialising in the technology and healthcare sectors.

As is typical with such transactions, details are scarce due to confidentiality agreements. Equitis has disclosed that one of the funds is a French technology fund launched in the early 1990s, while the other is a human health investment fund specialised in the healthcare and biotechnology areas. The two venture funds between them contain 19 portfolio companies.

Since its inception in 2000, Equitis has assumed secondary management roles at more than 150 portfolio companies, exiting 90 of these companies. The remaining 60 are still under management. A spokesperson for Equitis said the new portfolio was a good match with the firm’s specialist area of managing investments in the science and technology sectors.

Equitis is headed by Philippe Bertin, Hervé Thomas and Stéphan Catoire, three investment and executive management professionals. Earlier this year, Pascal Voulton, and Raffy Kazandjian, joined the firm as associate and venture advisor respectively. Voulton was previously a European associate at CDP Capital–Technologies (Québec) from 2000 to 2003. He was also an investment director at Thomson-CSF Ventures. Kazandjian was formerly president of CDC-Innovation Partners.

Equitis is one of a number of firms in Europe offering secondary management services to struggling and underperforming portfolios. Late last year, a team of corporate financiers, private equity and interim managers set up Nova Capital Management, a UK-based company that will manage underperforming portfolios run by private equity and venture capital firms across Europe.

The company has been set up by Lord Hodgson, former chairman of Granville Baird, David Williamson, former chief executive of Granville Baird, and Michael Kelly, former senior partner of Executive Interim Management. In its first transaction, Nova took over the management of Lica Development Capital, a £70m portfolio of investments, covering early or mid-stage investments in 20 UK companies. The portfolio includes the publishing company Duckworth, publisher of Beryl Bainbridge’s work for 20 years, and Planet Ice, Europe’s leading ice-rink operator.