ProVenture has been awarded the new investment mandate from Innovation Norway and launches its third seed-fund ProVenture Seed III. Innovation Norway has entered into a new contract with ProVenture Management III AS and will invest NOK 150 million in a new seed fund.
The size of the new fund will be at least NOK 300 million, of which NOK 150 million will come from Innovation Norway. However, the fund is not closed, and the goal is to raise an additional NOK 200 million from professional investors.
ProVenture has assembled a new team to manage the fund and it's lead by Geir Ove Kjesbu. Kjesbu has extensive experience from the industry as manager of the investment company Investinor from 2008-2016, and as an investor in other companies. In addition, two of Norway's most well-known IT entrepreneurs, Tom Arnøy and Borgar Ljosland, will be joining the new team.
Tom Arnøy is co-founder of Zedge and as CEO he listed the company on New York Stock Exchange in 2016. Tom has also been an angel investor for many years.
"When I got the opportunity to take part in building the technology companies of the future together with the strong professional environment that ProVenture represents, the choice was easy. I hope and believe that my experience as an entrepreneur, leader and angel investor will help to further strengthen the team. I am personally triggered by the opportunity to participate in solving some of the global challenges through new solutions and digital technology" - says Tom Arnøy.
Borgar Ljosland started the IT company Falanx and sold it to the hardware giant ARM for NOK 170 million in 2006. Since then, Ljosland has participated in several start-ups, including ParrotPlay and Work-Work.
"Over the past 20 years, I have experienced most of the ups and downs possible as an entrepreneur and worked with amazing people around the globe. I am very much looking forward to taking with me my experience and network, ranging from the transistor to big data in the cloud, to the ProVenture team and seize future opportunities together with entrepreneurs across the country" - says Borgar Ljosland.
Additional members in the team is Ane Christophersen, Ingvar Katmo and Herbjørn Skjervold. All three have solid experience from managing ProVenture's other two funds.
The investment mandate from Innovation Norway is nationwide and is open regarding sector and industry. ProVenture Seed III's investment focus will be sustainable digital technology startups with strong strategic value and international potential, located in or having a strong affiliation with Norway. The ambition is to invest at least 50% of the committed capital in the field of renewable energy.
ProVenture faced tough competition in the bid to win the investment mandate from Innovation Norway. 7 teams were in the final round, and the management teams have competed for the mandate based on the team's ability to raise private capital, ability to execute, network, expertise and experience.
"Receiving this investment mandate is a great recognition of what ProVenture has managed to accomplish in the 14 years since the award of our first fund. This is the third time we have won a competition for this type of mandate. At the same time, we all recognize the responsibility this entails. Our role is to manage the fund and to assist in laying the foundation for new Norwegian growth companies. We know this is a demanding task, but we welcome the challenge and look forward to embarking on this new chapter for ProVenture" - says Herbjørn Skjervold.
The private investors onboard in the new fund so far is Sparebank1 SMN, TrønderEnergi, Danske Bank, Reitan Kapital, Adolf Øien Kapitalfond, NTNU funds, SINTEF as well as investor Tore Lindbak. Magnus Reitan in Reitan Kapital is clear about the reason for his participation as an investor in ProVenture Seed III:
"We want to support serious investors in the early-phase and venture segment in Trondheim. We believe there is a great potential within these segments, and ProVenture has impressed us with their competence and results from previous funds" - says Magnus Reitan.
Alexandra Bech Gjørv, CEO of the SINTEF Group, says this about the assignment of the mandate:
"The NHO report - New opportunities for value creation in Norway - presented during Arendalsuka this summer, confirms that new business is crucial for Norway in order to transition into a sustainable future. New business is needed both to strengthen existing value chains where Norway already has a strong edge, and also to create new value chains. SINTEF has for decades actively pursued a goal-oriented and structured commercialization process with our technology, with very good results. Our experience is that the commercialization of technology from Norwegian research institutions is an important new value chain in Norway. One of the weakest links in this value chain is access to competent capital. SINTEF established last year the investment fund SINTEF Venture V with a capital of NOK 500 million together with eight other international and national investors. ProVenture is today and will continue to be a valued and important partner for SINTEF Venture V. The fact that ProVenture has won this mandate is particularly gratifying as it will contribute to further develop and strengthen the Tequity Cluster, which is the only cluster in Norway for commercialization of technology" -says Alexandra Bech Gjørv.