KEEN Venture Partners LLP today announces €90 million first close of its inaugural KEEN Venture Partners Fund, L.P. (the “Fund”).
The new Fund will seek to provide early growth capital for technology companies with breakaway momentum across Europe with a particular focus on innovation hubs in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. In addition, the fund will consider North American-based technology companies looking to expand into Europe. KEEN intends to invest €5 million to €10 million per company.
Key investors in the Fund include the European Investment Fund (which benefits from EU support under the COSME programme funded by the European Commission), Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), ING Netherlands, and KPN Ventures in addition to several private investors and entrepreneurs. KEEN is targeting a final close in 2017.
The newly established VC firm has been set up by Ben Verwaayen, former CEO of both BT and Alcatel-Lucent, Alexander Ribbink, former COO of TomTom and Robert Verwaayen, former principal at Prime Ventures. The partners have significant operational and investment experience, including in scaling businesses.
KEEN will invest using its thesis-driven framework, meaning that it will look to invest in companies operating in specific areas of information and communications technology consistent with the team’s vision, expertise and professional backgrounds. KEEN’s approach is designed to pro-actively engage with the most promising entrepreneurs.
When working with companies Keen is guided by a philosophy of ‘human capital first’, where it seeks to first help entrepreneurial teams and forge meaningful relations prior to investing. This approach allows companies to benefit from KEEN’s capabilities and network while giving KEEN greater conviction in its investment decisions.
To further strengthen the firm’s capabilities, KEEN today announces the appointment of a number of ‘network partners’ – world-class technology professionals that it will draw upon for investment advice and to support its portfolio companies. These network partners include Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and President of Bell Labs, and Clare Johnston, Founder and CEO of The Up Group, among others.
Robert Verwaayen, General Partner of KEEN Venture Partners, said: “This new Fund is the first from KEEN Venture Partners and we are pleased with the exceptional range of high-profile institutional and private investors, demonstrating a high level of confidence in the new Fund.”
Alexander Ribbink, General Partner of KEEN Venture Partners, added: “As a team we are passionate about supporting scale-up technology companies to become globally leading businesses. With our collective backgrounds, approach to investing and fresh capital we believe we can support the most ambitious entrepreneurs.”
Ben Verwaayen, General Partner of KEEN Venture Partners, added: “We’d also like to welcome our network partners to the firm. This exceptional group of highly experienced technology executives is of great help to us and to the entrepreneurs we work with.”
Pier Luigi Gilbert, Chief Executive at the European Investment Fund, said: “EIF currently supports over 400 private equity funds across Europe, including first-time teams. KEEN’s partners are among the most experienced operators we’ve seen starting a new venture capital fund, which is good news for the venture community. With offices in London and Amsterdam KEEN has a wide geographic reach across Europe, and a strategy that can support European SMEs.”
Nick Jue, CEO ING Netherlands said: “The team at KEEN Venture Partners is focussing on operating, finding and supporting scale-ups which will also add great value to the innovation activities of ING. The financial industry is rapidly changing, and we want to keep pace with innovation and keep our eyes wide open.”
Herman Kienhuis, Director of KPN Ventures, said: “We’re excited to work with KEEN Venture Partners as a way to further expand the scope and opportunity of KPN Ventures to engage in partnerships with innovative tech companies. The team at KEEN have valuable and complementary expertise and the network to support founders of high-growth technology companies in building international businesses.”