KEEN Venture Partners, a new venture capital firm operating from London and Amsterdam, today announces the closing of its first €90 million fund.
The new fund will invest growth capital for tech companies with breakaway momentum across Europe with a particular focus on innovation hubs in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. In addition, the fund might also consider US-based tech companies looking to expand into Europe. KEEN intends to invest €5 million to €10 million per company.
Key investors in the Fund include the European Investment Fund (which benefits from EU support under the COSME programme funded by the European Commission), Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), ING Netherlands, and KPN Ventures in addition to several private investors and entrepreneurs. KEEN is targeting a final close in 2017.
The newly established VC firm has been set up by Ben Verwaayen, former CEO of both BT and Alcatel-Lucent, Alexander Ribbink, former COO of TomTom and Robert Verwaayen, former principal at Prime Ventures. The partners have significant operational and investment experience, including in scaling businesses.
KEEN plans to invest in companies operating in specific areas of information and communications technology consistent with the team’s vision, expertise and professional backgrounds. KEEN’s approach is designed to pro-actively engage with the most promising entrepreneurs.
According to the new VC firm, Keen is guided by a philosophy of ‘human capital first’ when working with startups, where it seeks to first help entrepreneurial teams and forge meaningful relations prior to investing. This approach allows companies to benefit from KEEN’s capabilities and network while giving KEEN greater conviction in its investment decisions.
To further strengthen the firm’s capabilities, KEEN today also announces the appointment of a number of ‘network partners’. These high-profile technology professionals will provide some investment advice and support KEEN’s portfolio companies. The network partners include Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and President of Bell Labs, and Clare Johnston, Founder and CEO of The Up Group, among others.
Alexander Ribbink, General Partner of KEEN Venture Partners, stated: “As a team we are passionate about supporting scale-up technology companies to become globally leading businesses. With our collective backgrounds, approach to investing and fresh capital we believe we can support the most ambitious entrepreneurs.”
Pier Luigi Gilbert, Chief Executive at the European Investment Fund, said: “EIF currently supports over 400 private equity funds across Europe, including first-time teams. KEEN’s partners are among the most experienced operators we’ve seen starting a new venture capital fund, which is good news for the venture community. With offices in London and Amsterdam KEEN has a wide geographic reach across Europe, and a strategy that can support European SMEs.”