Utrecht, Netherlands-based Solid Capital Partners has announced the launch of Solid Capital ICT Fund III, which will aim to raise €75 million ($98 million) by the end of this year for later-stage venture and expansion capital investments in information and communications technology (ICT) companies in the Benelux region.
The firm comprises the entire team that oversaw NeSBIC CTE funds I and II (which raised a combined €210 million), and is headed by managing director Robert Wilhelm – who also launched the NeSBIC CTE operation in 1997. Floris van Alkemade and Herman DeLatte, both partners, join Wilhelm on the management team. Wilhelm said the team – which includes eight part-time venture partners – has responsibility for “managing out” the existing CTE I and II portfolios.
The team decided to raise its own fund when NeSBIC’s cornerstone investor Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch banking and insurance group, opted to focus its private equity activities on captive operation Fortis Private Equity. The former buyout arm of NeSBIC – now known as Bencis Capital Partners – also went independent and closed a €250 million fund in November 2004.
In an interview with PEO, Wilhelm said Solid Capital would continue to follow the same strategy as NeSBIC CTE by investing in communications, software technologies, technology-based services and digital media companies. But, whereas the CTE funds invested around 60 percent in the Benelux region and 40 percent in the rest of Europe and the US, Solid Capital will focus solely on Benelux opportunities. Wilhelm indicated two reasons for this: “We need to be close to our investments, and there is hardly any competition left in this space in the Benelux region.”
He added that ICT Fund III would be seeking a €40 million first closing “pre-summer”. He is currently gauging interest from existing investors in the CTE funds, but declined to be drawn on what percentage of the new fund he anticipates coming from existing sources.
Wilhelm is leading the fundraising effort himself, and is not using a placement agent.