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EUR 190 million for innovative Portuguese SMEs announced at Web Summit in Lisbon

    Date: 06 November 2018
  • The EIF supports EUR 190 million of investments targeting innovative Portuguese companies under two new equity funds managed by Vallis Capital Partners and Mustard Seed Maze
  • These funds benefit from EU support under InnovFin Equity, COSME EFG and the Juncker Plan
  • The two funds were launched at the 2018 Web Summit in Lisbon, by the European Commissioner Moedas, the EIF and representatives from Vallis Capital Partners and Mustard Seed Maze

The European Investment Fund (EIF), with the support of InnovFin Equity and COSME EFG, is investing in two equity funds in Portugal – Vallis Capital Partners and Mustard Seed Maze Social Entrepreneurship Fund I. These investments benefit from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

As the first social impact investing fund in Portugal, Mustard Seed Maze Social Entrepreneurship is expected to be a game-changer in the Portuguese market. It will provide the first stable source of funding for the most promising social innovation business models in Portugal. The Vallis Capital Partners Fund investments will target sustainability trends, including industries related to demographic growth and scarcity of natural resources.

Vallis Capital Partners has launched a EUR 150 million lower to mid-market fund, Vallis Sustainable Investments II, targeting innovative Portuguese SME´s over the next 5 years. The EIF investment benefits from EU support under the COSME programme funded by the European Commission.

Mustard Seed Maze Social Entrepreneurship Fund I is a EUR 40 million social impact fund investing in social enterprises in Portugal, will be supported by the InnovFin Equity Facility for Early Stage SME window, under Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and the Social Impact Accelerator. The Fund will be the first impact investing fund raised with a focus on Portuguese social enterprises.

Both funds benefit from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan

European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "These two Juncker Plan deals worth EUR 190 million will give Portuguese small and medium businesses the boost they need to express their talents and turn their ideas into concrete projects. Fresh funding will be available for innovative projects of high value added and for social enterprises, which are two sectors that are key to the future of Europe's economy. The Web Summit is probably the most symbolic place where such deals can be formalized."

The signatures took place at Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon where the EIB Group sponsored the Growth stage and hosted visitors at the Growth Lounge during Europe’s largest tech event.

EIB Vice-President, Ambroise Fayolle said: “The EIB Group believes in the potential of innovative companies in Portugal and this is why we are delighted that the EIF is partnering with these two funds. These agreements will help to strengthen the Portuguese equity ecosystem. The health of the European economy rests on its ability to innovate and EU support remains a key component.”

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert commented: “EIF is pleased to be signing two new equity agreements at Web Summit in Lisbon to support Portuguese companies. This cooperation which will trigger EUR 190 million worth of investments, contributing to the creation of jobs and growth in Portugal.”

Eduardo Rocha, Chief Executive of Vallis Capital Partners, said: "We are honoured to have EIF as one of our leading  investors since the inception of our first Fund, and now, reinforcing its investment into our second fund, Vallis Sustainable Investments II.

Our long-term partnership with EIF has been mutually successful and has empowered Vallis to invest in the most innovative and promising Portuguese businesses, fostering their growth, modernizing their processes, expanding their international reach, creating jobs and, ultimately, creating value to investors and to the society as a whole."

Mustard Seed Maze Social Entrepreneurship Fund I Managing Partners, Antonio Miguel and Henry Wigan jointly said: "We are very grateful for the support of EIF and our other LPs which will enable us to continue to support talented teams solving the world’s most pressing challenges. This Fund will make the majority of investments into Portugal-based impact ventures, with funding available from pre-Seed to Series A/B, thereby providing our founders with a patient and flexible capital partner as they tackle entrenched social and environmental challenges."

About the European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

About InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators

InnovFin Equity is part of InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators, a generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services developed under Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), to help innovative firms access finance more easily. "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will help to inject around EUR 50 billion in investments in Research and Innovation across Europe.

InnovFin Equity provides equity investments and co-investments to or alongside funds focusing on early stage financing of enterprises operating in innovative sectors covered by Horizon 2020, located or active in the EU or Horizon 2020 Associated Countries.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access InnovFin and other sources of EU Finance: http://www.access2finance.eu/.


COSME is an EU programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, with a significant part of the programme dedicated to financial instruments managed by the EIF. The COSME financial instruments aim at improving access to finance for SMEs and encouraging the competitiveness of European enterprises. The COSME financial instruments run from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of EUR 1.3 billion.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan) focuses mainly on removing obstacles to investment, increasing the visibility of investment projects while providing them with technical assistance, and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. By October 2018, the Investment Plan had already mobilised over EUR 344 bn of investment across Europe, including EUR 7.3 billion in Portugal and supported 793,000 small and medium businesses.

About the Social Impact Accelerator

The Social Impact Accelerator (SIA) is a EUR 243 million pan-European public-private partnership addressing the growing need for availability of equity finance to support social enterprises. SIA is a first step in the EIB Group’s (European Investment Bank and EIF) strategy to pioneer the impact investing space and respond to the wider EU policy aim of establishing a sustainable funding market for social entrepreneurship in Europe.

About Vallis Capital Partners

Vallis is an independent Private Equity firm endorsing the intrinsic long-term value creation based on a proactive ownership and a hands-on approach to its portfolio companies.

Vallis invests in innovative Iberian SME’s with high growth potential, whose demand drivers are strongly correlated with medium and long-term sustainable trends, creating value for investors while contributing to a more Sustainable World.

Vallis was the first Portuguese asset manager to become a signatory of the "Principles for Responsible Investment" (PRI) of the United Nations, being truly committed to the Environment, Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance concerns.

About Mustard Seed Maze

Mustard Seed MAZE is a joint venture between Mustard Seed, an early-stage venture fund that has a track record of investing in high growth European companies that are rethinking how we pursue solutions to the world's toughest social and environmental problems; and MAZE an impact investing firm created by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation whose mission is to provide impact ventures with capital and skills to deliver compelling impact outcomes and financial performance.

Press contacts:

David Yormesor

Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346
e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Mustard Seed MAZE:
Cristina Pereira de Almeida
Tel.: +351 918 373 307
e-mail: cristina@maze-impact.com

Vallis Capital Partners:
Eduardo Rocha

Tel.: +351 220 164 444
e-mail: Eduardo.rocha@vallis.pt

European Commission:
Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr
Tel.: +32 229 56169
e-mail: sophie.dupin-de-saint-cyr@.europa.eu


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