A new Venture capital fund managing tens of millions of euro started operating in Lithuania
(Photo from personal archive)
A new venture capital fund Open Circle Capital, based in Vilnius, announced the official commencement of its operations. It is planned that it will operate for a decade and will invest up to EUR 20 million in start-ups created and developed in our country, in new technologies developed and in their commercialization.
According to Audrius Milukas, Manager and one of Open Circle Capital’s partners, two-thirds of the fund’s capital is made up of public (INVEGA) funds, and the remaining one-third is made up of funds allocated by private investors. The funds will be used for projects in the field of information and communication technologies, robotics and high technology, and for projects demonstrating global ambitions, as well as for their preparation to enter foreign markets.
“We are looking for developers of SaaS solutions, applications and various cloud computing business models in the field of Information and Communication Technologies. In the robotics, we focus on the start-ups involved in component production, logistics, drones, and the fourth industrial revolution. In the high-tech market, our fund is interested in the development of medical, chemical, semiconductor, optics and related technologies,” said A. Milukas and added that the listed areas are only indicative.
According to the Head of Open Circle Capital, it is planned that annually the fund will invest in 5-6 new technology companies. The maximum investment per company will amount to EUR 3 million. This amount will be provided in instalments. The initial investment in the project will amount to a smaller share of the total investment.
When A. Milukas was asked about the main features of the fund, he emphasized that the great strength of Open Circle Capital is the experience of international partners gained working both in Europe and in the United States.
“We have a huge investment experience. In total, the funds were invested in nearly 100 technology companies; the partners participated in more than 80 technology transfer transactions, managed seven funds, and sold businesses to such global giants as Facebook, Saab, and Eli Lilly. Nevertheless, we will be an open organization and seek to cooperate with many other investors such as business angels, accelerators, venture capital funds”, A. Milukas assured.
According to A. Milukas, it is necessary to unite forces to ensure maximum competence necessary for strengthening the Lithuanian ecosystem of start-ups and creating more success stories of Lithuanian business. According to the interviewer, the available working knowledge of the fund with universities and the ability to commercialize the prospective ideas created in the academic environment will be especially useful.
A. Milukas said that the main goal of the fund is to discover and invest in the best and potentially successful Lithuanian technology developers providing the capital and knowledge needed to start a business.
The Open Circle Capital Fund is managed by four partners: two Lithuanians, namely Audrius Milukas, Corporate Finance Management Expert, Founder and Managing Director of SME Finance and Rokas Tamošiūnas, a person well-known in innovation industries, an active developer of early-stage technology companies and former manager at StartupHighway, and two foreigners, namely Jens Damsgaard, a venture capital management expert and Technology Transfer Manager at the University of Southern Denmark, and William Cardwell, a high tech and investment professional, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina and a Kenan-Flagler Business School, currently living and working in Finland. The latter also has a great experience in technology transfer management.