VI Partners holds first close of tech & healthcare fund

Technology

A new fund advised by VI Partners held its first close in April on EUR71 million. The fund will focus on medical and deep tech innovations from the Swiss scientific research ecosystem, and hold a final close in 2021.

Investors include Venture Incubator, an evergreen investment structure with corporate investors including ABB, Bühler, Crédit Suisse, ETH, Hilti, McKinsey, Nestlé, Schindler, Sulzer, Suva, ZKB, the European Investment Fund (EIF) - under the InnovFin Equity Facility for early stage backed by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation - and the Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund.

The fund, which is called VI Partners Swiss Innovation, will target early stage companies in Switzerland, while also making investments in later stage companies domestically and internationally.

The VI Partners team has access to deep tech spin off companies through its relations with tech transfer offices of major Swiss universities, said the firm. Three of VI Partners’ founding partners are heading up the fund: Diego Braguglia, Arnd Kaltofen and Alain Nicod.

The fourth founding partner, Daniel Gutenberg, will remain a venture partner to the new fund. The team has recently expanded by adding investment professionals Benedikt Luhmann and Cyrill Osterwalder.

In Switzerland, more than 50 per cent of students are educated in one of the top 100 universities worldwide. Research excellence and the small size of Swiss universities favour tech convergence.

“Switzerland has some of the best universities and research institutes in the world," says Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “To achieve truly disruptive innovation and technology convergence that will benefit all of Europe we need the strongest possible cooperation internationally and particularly with our closest neighbours."

Funds advised by VI Partners have been contributors to the Swiss ecosystem during the past two decades. The new fund will leverage this in an ever-evolving environment, according to the VC firm.