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Bavarian venture capital fund gets boost from the European Investment Bank

Bavarian venture capital fund gets boost from the European Investment Bank

The money is for the growth and expansion of tech startups

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will pour 50 million euros into Germany’s Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 venture capital fund, boosting innovative start-ups in robotics, aerospace and fintech. The move was agreed upon back in March, however, it was signed on 5 July 2021 by The EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and Bavaria’s Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Roland Weigert pushing Bavaria’s densely packed university cluster one step closer to becoming the start-up hotspot of Europe.

Giving companies a competitive edge in the global market

A serious problem for European small and medium-sized tech start-ups is the lack of available growth capital - a stark contrast to the conditions in the US and China. This is what Bavaria’s Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 fund aims to remedy underpinned by the large network of universities and research centres in the region.

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs set up Wachstumsfonds Bayern in 2015, through which it has invested more than €71 million in 23 promising Bavarian start-ups employing 1 850 highly qualified professionals.

At the same time, the fund is managed by Bayern Kapital which helps to facilitate cooperation between private domestic and foreign investors and the up and coming companies. Because of this a further €350 million of private capital was invested in growing companies.

The Free State of Bavaria launched the successor fund Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 in mid-2020, endowing it with €115 million. Now, the EIB’s commitment brings the fund’s total volume to €165 million, recognising the strategic importance of the endeavour.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle emphasised the importance of investing in Europe to help boost the recovery of the continent and its competitiveness on a global scale, especially after the pandemic.

Aerospace, robotics and fintech, the holy trinity of future industries

The first businesses to benefit from this investment are German Bionic Systems (robotics), OroraTech (space) and Wealthpilot (fintech).

OroraTech is a company developing a nanosatellite that will provide quicker early warnings for wildfires across the globe. The company needs to send its own shoebox-sized nanosatellites into orbit in the coming years. These will be equipped with very small AI-based infrared cameras. Adding to the companies credibility is the fact that forest authorities worldwide have already enhanced their early warning systems with the OroraTech wildfire system.

Thomas Grübler and Björn Stoffers with a prototype of the satellite, Source: OroraTech

Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2 has also invested in German Bionic Systems. With its headquarters in Augsburg, German Bionic Systems is a European market and technology leader in the field of robotic exoskeletons. The intelligent, backpack-like power suits help to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders for employees in physically taxing jobs, such as those working in warehouses.

A demonstration of the Cray X Power Suit, Source: German Bionic Systems

Meanwhile, the fintech company Wealthpilot targets asset advisors, banks and insurance companies. With Wealthpilot, they can analyse and manage their end customers’ total assets at the touch of a button and provide said customers with a transparent and easy to understand overview of their assets on all their devices.

Bavaria’s Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Roland Weigert claimed that the EIB’s decision is a sign that they recognise Bavaria as a business location. He continued: “A key objective of our economic policy is to offer risk-taking entrepreneurs with promising ideas the optimal conditions for growth and success. They are the ones driving innovation and strengthening our competitiveness.“

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