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New Venture Capital Fund to Invest in Innovation
April 30, 2014   
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A new zl.210 million venture capital fund will soon begin investing in advanced technology in Poland.

The fund, called Pitango Investin Ventures, is a joint undertaking between Israel’s largest venture capital fund, Pitango, and Poland’s Investin group, with Poland’s National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR) covering half of the fund’s total endowment under its BRIdge VC program.

Pitango Investin Ventures will be the biggest venture capital fund investing in advanced technology in Poland, the partners say. They signed the deal Feb. 20.

“Innovative products do not come into being in offices, but where business meets science,” said Prof. Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, the Polish science and higher education minister. “Therefore, our task is to make sure there are proper conditions for efficient cooperation between these two sectors. This agreement should bring tangible benefits soon.”

Prof. Krzyszof Jan Kurzydłowski, director of the National Center for Research and Development, said, “The emergence of this fund is a breakthrough in financing R&D in Poland. The pooling of public and private funds for investment, combined with investment fund involvement, creates an unprecedented window of opportunity. The high level of our research teams is reason enough for us to believe that we will see the Polish company hitting NASDAQ three to four years from now.”

The BRIdge VC program being pursued by the National Center for Research and Development aims to stimulate investment in the development of new technology. It offers public-private support for efforts to put research results to commercial use in partnership with venture capital funds. The innovative financing format is expected to help innovative domestic projects overcome a hurdle they often face in Poland—a lack of investors.

According to Rami Kalish, managing partner and co-founder of Pitango, the Polish economy has proved its resilience to economic turbulence, continuing to grow in spite of the crisis and slowdown in Europe. Polish companies and innovators are creating a growing number of profitable technological solutions, Kalish said, which is vital to the development of the venture capital market.

Pitango Venture Capital manages assets worth more than $1.6 billion and is the largest venture capital group in Israel. Since it was founded in 1993 it has invested in more than 180 technology companies, some of which have gone public by entering NASDAQ, while others have become part of corporations such as Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and Oracle.

Pitango Investin Ventures will be the largest advanced technology fund on the Polish market and the first launched under the BRIdge VC program. The fund will ensure long-term financing of portfolio companies and constant business support at the product development stage and in establishing international relations with global customers and strategic partners.

Władysław Halbersztadt, managing partner of Pitango Investin Ventures and co-founder of the Investin group, said, “We want the Pitango Investin Ventures fund to help Polish technology companies achieve international success, just as the Yozma program supported investment in the development of advanced technology in Israel 20 years ago. We are proud to be able to take an active part in the development of innovation in Poland.”

Piotr Koral, CEO of the Investin group, said, “We highly rate the scale and quality of business opportunities in Poland’s technology sector as well as its potential. We believe our projects will bring investors healthy profits and strengthen global venture capital standards in Poland in financing the development of advanced technology.”

The Pitango Investin Ventures fund plans to invest in companies specializing in areas such as software, hardware, communications, the internet and media, mobile applications, network security, materials technology, medical equipment and agricultural technology.
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