Europe gets another new VC today with the official outing of London and Amsterdam-based Keen Venture Partners, which plans to invest in European companies with “breakaway momentum,” ranging from €5-10 million per company.
Noteworthy are the partners in the early growth-capital fund, which has an initial closing of €90 million. They are Ben Verwaayen, former CEO of both BT and Alcatel-Lucent, Alexander Ribbink, former COO of TomTom. and Robert Verwaayen, former principal at Prime Ventures, chalking up a considerable amount of operational chops between them.
I’m also told that Keen will have a particular focus on tech startup hubs in the U.K., Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, but will also consider investing in North American-based technology companies looking to expand into Europe.
Keen is defining its target of scale-up tech companies as those with revenue between €1 – 50 million and that have what it describes as significant “break away momentum,” which I understand translates into something akin to minimum revenue growth of 30 per cent.
To that end, Keen will focus on three core thesis areas. These are “distributed intelligence” (next generation networks, virtualisation, IoT platforms, big data, machine learning, smart hardware, and robotics); “the prosumer continuum’ (education Technology, platform as a service, productivity and collaboration tools, file management, and analytics); and “convenient transacting” (web and mobile market places, payment services, fin-tech platforms, digital security, and identity solutions).
The new VC also says it has appointed a number of “network partners” who will provide investment advice, and support its portfolio companies. They include Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and President of Bell Labs, and Clare Johnston, CEO and founder of The Up Group, among others.
LPs in Keen include the European Investment Fund (EIF) which benefits from EU support under the COSME programme funded by the European Union, Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), ING Netherlands, and KPN Ventures, in addition to several private investors and entrepreneurs.