In a time of crisis with far between the positive stories, and with banks and investors keeping a lid on spending, the venture fund SEED Capital has made 11 new investments during the first six months of 2010. SEED's explanation is; there have just been too many good business opportunities that we simply could not reject.
The 11 investments are very different. From TjekInternational, which is the creators of the iPhone applications TjekBenzin.dk and Tjekfootball.dk; over Expanite, who have developed a method of hardening stainless steel, so that it among others will be scratch free; to Observe Medical, who developed a method to monitor patients' urine production.
"We already receive a lot of inquiries, but the past year has seen a significant growth in the number of high quality business opportunities from exciting new enterprises", says Managing Partner at SEED Capital Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack and continues: "We experience it as if the crisis has shocked many Danish entrepreneurs, but that they have used this time to redevelop their business plans based on the new market conditions".
In 2009, SEED Capital invested in 15 new companies; a 50% increase from 2008. And it would not surprise Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack, if the trend continues.
"We feel confident that if this development continues, we will beat our 2006 record of 17 investments. It is in times of crisis that the businesses of the future grow strong".
Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack is however worried about the opportunities for attracting other investors at a later stage as there are few active venture funds and private investors in Denmark at the moment.
"That's why we focus on companies that can go far for relatively small amounts or companies with the potential to attract international funding," she says.
SEED Capital's investment activity is done on the basis of a very positive year. In February they managed to raise a new fund of DKK 435 million, and in April they received the Venture Fund of the Year award from the industry organization DVCA. SEED Capital's portfolio also performed well. Among others the broadband company Fullrate was sold to TDC in early 2009, just as the biotech company Evolva was listed on the Swiss stock exchange. In addition, the Cleantech company Amminex signed a large contract with the U.S. truck maker Navistar and the social network goSupermodel reached 4.2 million unique visitors per month.
SEED Capital is the largest venture fund in Denmark within the pre-seed and seed segment and specializes in identifying and developing new and innovative technology companies. SEED Capital manages both private and public venture capital funds through the innovation environment DTU Symbion Innovation. Public funding allows SEED to invest in start-ups in the early stages, and private funds can then be invested in the most successful companies in subsequent investment rounds. SEED manages today approx. 1.5 billion DKK and has about 70 companies in its portfolio.
The 11 new investments
1calender is a user-friendly online calendar system that integrates customized data with the user's calendar. The data could be from recognized event providers, individually updated schedules from the college or university or Facebook events and birthdays.
Abeo has developed an innovative and cost effective method for concrete construction. The method improves the strength of a concrete structure while decreasing the structure's weight, leading to lower material costs and reducing CO2 emissions in the production, transport and construction.
Adject has developed a disposable syringe, which due to a built-in mechanism self-destroys after use. The syringe meets the criteria and standards of WHO and has been tested successfully and is therefore an obvious supplier to the WHO, who use 2 billion syringes a year.
Dantelo offers a unified communications platform that integrates directly between the telecommunication provider's network and business IT solutions. Their solution gives telecommunications operators and service providers the ability to offer more services in their networks quick, easy and cost effectively.
Expanite has developed a quick and cost effective process for hardening the surface of stainless steel. Products of stainless steel which has undergone such a hardening has a much longer lifespan, rusts more slowly and is virtually impossible to scratch.
Junefield has developed a technology that allows players of online multiplayer games like Counter Strike and Trackmania, to compete for money.
Minervax is developing a vaccine against Group B Streptococci (GBS) infections using a specific fusion protein that seems to induce a good protective immunity. A general vaccine effective against the relevant strains of GBS, will be of great significance and could potentially become part of an overall vaccine program for pregnant women or for women considering pregnancy.
Nanoference has developed a technology to deliver RNAi to the appropriate cells by encapsulating them in nanoparticles composed of the sugar substance chitosan. RNAi is a new type of dramatically effective medicines, which so far however have proven problematic to transport beyond the body's natural immune system.
Observe Medical has developed a fully automated digital urine meter that monitors urine output via a bag device connected to a piece of software. Urine production can be used as a diagnostic tool in the treatment of patients.
Syncrowd is a web-based tool that takes advantage of a network of customers to deliver real-time and immediate consumer insight. Via the website www.iconzoomer.com consumers can share pictures of specific events requested by the customer. Consumers get points for participation which can be exchanged for money. The solution is ideal for companies working with challenges such as product design, innovation, service enhancement, segmentation and market positioning.
TjekInternational has created a platform to develop mobile applications that solve specific needs in a market with a well defined user group, with the aim of providing targeted advertising. The first two applications (tjekbenzin.dk and tjekfodbold.dk) has been launched in several countries and has over the first three months had more than 80,000 downloads.
Besides new investments SEED Capital has also injected additional capital into portfolio companies Trustpilot, 2curex, Epitherapeutics and Adject.