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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 30, 2008
Business
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New EI Fund
July 30, 2008 By A.R.    
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Enterprise Investors (EI) has launched its first venture capital fund, Enterprise Venture Fund I (EVF I), with a total equity of 100 million euros.

The new fund, launched in July, will make investments ranging from zl.3 million to zl.15 million, or 1-5 million euros, to fund the expansion of Poland's small and medium-sized enterprises, both those dealing with modern technology and those active in more traditional sectors.

The largest investor in Enterprise Investment Fund I is the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which, along with its sister company Argonaut Ventures, has invested over $1 billion in venture capital funds and direct investments around the world. Other investors include international financial institutions that have worked with EI for many years.

Enterprise Venture Fund I is the largest venture capital fund in Central and Eastern Europe. It has been established in response to major demand for equity needed to give a financial boost to Poland's SMEs.

"The new Enterprise Investors fund was launched in response to a growing need among SMEs for PE/VC [private equity/venture capital] funds," said Jacek Siwicki, president of Enterprise Investors. "Over the years, EI has grown along with Central Europe's business powerhouses, allocating a growing amount of money in single projects. But we also recognize the financial needs of new-generation enterprises that have the chance to join the largest and best companies in the future. These are the companies that we want to finance with EVF I equity."

Enterprise Venture Fund I is targeted at booming SMEs that are on the lookout for funds to expand. "EVF I equity is aimed at companies that are already on the market, have reliable strategies, and generate revenue and operating profit," said Rafał Bator, a partner at EI who heads the company's venture capital team. "Companies seeking capital are already contacting us. We are in advanced talks with a couple of firms."

EVF I focuses on technology-oriented sectors, including IT, internet, telecommunications and media, but is also open to projects in traditional industries such as retail, manufacturing, services, finance and consumer goods.

In its first year, EVF I will chiefly invest in Poland, but also plans to expand into other Central and Eastern European countries in the future.

Enterprise Investors is a pioneer in the private equity sector in both Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries. It has made many innovative transactions on markets in the region. Since its inception in 1990 Enterprise Investors has been a significant venture capital/private equity investor in the technology sector. To date EI funds have invested almost 50 million euros in 11 companies in this sector.

The total assets of Enterprise Investors following the launch of Enterprise Venture Fund I are estimated at 1.7 billion euros. EI's six funds have invested 1.1 billion euros in 107 enterprises from various industries.
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