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EIF invests EUR 32.55m into Fil Rouge Capital II under the Croatian Venture Capital Initiative

    Date: 18 April 2019
  • More than 100 Croatian start-ups expected to benefit under the CVCi;
  • Investment enabled by Cohesion Policy resources, from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds;
  • CVCi crucial for the sustainable development of the Croatian venture capital market, a key to faster economic growth and modern economy.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) will invest EUR 32.55 million in Croatian innovative companies through Fil Rouge Capital II (the Fund). Investment was provided through the Croatian Venture Capital Initiative (CVCi), launched by the Croatian Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and the EIF under the Cohesion Policy Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020 to accelerate the development of the Croatian venture capital market, a key to faster economic growth and a modern economy.

The Fund is expected to raise a minimum of EUR 7 million in additional capital from private investors. Involvement of institutional investors in the Fund will contribute significantly towards the sustainable development of the Croatian venture capital and private equity market.

The EIF has selected Fil Rouge in a competitive process among eight applicants that have applied to the specifically designed CVCi call for expression of interest. The selection process has been completed by EIF in just nine months, allowing Croatian start-ups to benefit from equity investments swiftly after the CVCi launch in mid-2018.

The accelerator compartment will allow Fil Rouge to invest in more than 100 start-ups at the idea stage while the Fund will also have the capacity to invest in companies that already show validation of their product in the market. Furthermore, Fil Rouge will support the scaling up of successful Croatian portfolio companies in Europe and globally.

The CVCi is further complemented in Croatia by the EUR 70 million Croatian Growth Investment Programme (CROGIP) launched by the EIF in cooperation with the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) in January 2019 as part of the EIF framework for cooperation with national promotional institutions. It supports Croatian SMEs’, small midcaps’ and midcaps’ access to growth and expansion capital.

Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Gabrijela Žalac said: “By providing the ESIF resources to this Financial Instrument, the Government has provided a strong incentive to innovative start-ups that will gain much-anticipated support for global expansion, thus contributing to Croatian goal of transformation towards knowledge based economy.”

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “This is very good news, and yet another example of Cohesion Policy at work. The launch of this Fund, backed by Cohesion Policy, means fresh financing for Croatian small and medium businesses, and this is often exactly what they need to launch new products, integrate innovative processes, create new jobs and expand beyond their local market.”

Jacques Darcy, Departmental Director of Mandate Management – Equity at EIF, said: “We are very excited to be the preferred partner of the Government of Croatia for implementing a dedicated initiative for supporting the emerging Croatian start-up ecosystem and are strongly convinced that Fil Rouge will play a vital role by helping local entrepreneurs’ ideas to fruition. We are equally excited to have delivered in a speedy and effective manner on EIF’s first ever partnership with Croatia in the area of equity investments and hope this marks only a chapter in our joint support of access to finance for Croatian SMEs in the future.”

Fil Rouge Capital II Managing Partner Julien Coustaury said: “This new Fund will make a step-change to the start-up ecosystem here in Croatia. Fil Rouge Capital will be able to invest EUR 42 million right across the entrepreneurial spectrum from the earliest stage of incubation, through acceleration and finally to the growth stage of start-ups. We have already seen that there is a great deal of talent here in Croatia that can benefit from the investment of this Fund and from the guidance that Fil Rouge can bring through its international network of mentors – we look forward to supporting it. We are very proud to have been selected to manage this Fund and are committed to its future success. We would like to thank the EIF for their faith in us and for the professionalism and speed with which this process has been concluded.”

About the European Investment Fund (EIF)

EIF`s central mission is to support Europe's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF aims at satisfying existing and future market needs by designing innovative financial products addressed to different partners (banks, guarantee, leasing and microfinance institutions, private equity and venture capital funds, among others), acting as our financial intermediaries. By offering an Integrated Risk Finance Product Range of SME finance to our intermediaries, we complement the products offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) with which we form the EIB Group.

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