(Helsinki, Finland, February 15th, 2022) Finnish venture capital firm Innovestor has launched a new Life Science & Health fund focusing on early-stage opportunities in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The fund has completed a first closing of € 60 million and aims to increase its capital to 90-120 million euros within 12 months. State-backed Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi) acts as anchor investor in the fund.
The new fund aims to find the next billion dollar innovations from universities and strong research-based companies. A team of accomplished professionals from the sector is responsible for fund investments. One of the partners, Dr. Milla Koistinaho, is a docent in neurobiology. She has almost 20 years of experience in founding research-based companies and commercializing early-stage inventions.
“We have exceptionally good insight into seed-stage inventions in universities and strong relationships with researchers in neighboring countries. Being based on scientific evidence and high-quality research, this fund is first-of-its-kind in Finland. We have an unrivalled ability to understand and evaluate inventions,” Koistinaho assures.
Pekka Simula, also partner of the fund alongside Koistinaho, has equally impressive experience from research and research-based growth companies. Prior to joining the Innovestor’s Life Science team, he served as CEO of Herantis Pharma, a listed pharmaceutical company, and has also been the founder-CEO of Oncos Therapeutics, another pharmaceutical business.
“Through university cooperation, we are able to screen for innovations that have potential to reach unicorn level. We aim to invest in about 20 companies, half of which are co-founded by us, and in addition to capital, we bring them industry expertise. Our goal is for investors to get their money back at least 2.5 times,” Simula says.
A fund to make impact and attract international investors.
State-backed investor Tesi and the KRR fund-of-funds IV managed by Tesi have committed a total investment of 30 million euros. According to Tesi, the objectives of the fund are in line with the growth strategy of the national health research and innovation activities.
“For many years, there has been an obvious need for a domestic, specialized fund like this; creating it will significantly complement funding offer for life sciences. The fund is a great response to the market needs with both its investment strategy and team expertise,” says the Investment Director of Tesi, Petteri Laakso.
The fund is the first in Finland in over ten years that focuses solely on life sciences. At the same time, the Nordic and Baltic region has world-leading innovation capacity and scientific know-how in the field. “Through our new fund, we can support the commercialization of innovations and bring breakthrough science to market for the larger benefit of the society. We believe in doing well while doing good. Another important aspect is being able to support early-stage research teams to obtain international funding, which will be needed as the projects mature,”says Wilhelm Lindholm, CEO of Innovestor.
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