European Tech Champions Initiative to fund scaleup of technology companies in Spain

29 March 2023

  • The fund of funds will back high-tech companies in their late-stage growth phase and support the development of the Spanish venture capital market
  • The ETCI has secured initial commitments of €3.75 billion from the EIB Group, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium
  • Spain is one of the top supporters of the initiative, contributing €1 billion to the fund

The European Tech Champions Initiative (ETCI) fund of funds was presented to the venture capital market in Spain today at an event in Madrid. Managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), the venture capital arm of the European Investment Bank Group, ETCI was launched in February, with initial contributions from Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.

The EIF teamed up with Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), a local investor in the ETCI, to present the fund to the Spanish market today. The event was attended by the Spanish Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence Carme Artigas, the Chief Executive of the EIF Marjut Falkstedt, and the Chairman of ICO José Carlos García de Quevedo. Madrid is the first stop of the roadshow that will visit the capitals of the Member States participating in the ETCI.

More than €3.75 billion secured to support the European high-tech ecosystem

The European Tech Champions Initiative will back high-tech companies in their late-stage growth phase. During the initial subscription period, it secured commitments from Spain (€1 billion), Germany (€1 billion), France (€1 billion), Italy (€150 million) and Belgium (€100 million). The EIB Group committed an additional €500 million, bringing the total to €3.75 billion at this stage, although the fund is expected to grow through additional commitments in the future. 

The fund will channel much-needed late-stage growth capital to promising tech innovators in Spain and the European Union. It will also expand Spain’s scaleup venture capital markets by bridging gaps in financing availability, especially for companies seeking to raise amounts of over €50 million. It will help create an asset class for European institutional investors to diversify their portfolios, thus maintaining a continuous flow of funding to European scaleups. 

EIB Group Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix stressed that “Europe’s tech startups often do not have sufficient capital to compete on a global scale and are forced to relocate overseas. The ETCI is a great example of how Europe can pool resources to close this scaleup gap and nurture home-grown innovation and entrepreneurship. At the EIB Group, we are thrilled to be leading and contributing to this initiative. The vibrant high-tech Spanish ecosystem will benefit greatly from the ETCI, thus playing a key role in boosting growth and creating a large number of skilled jobs in the country.”

“We welcome the fact that together, with actions such as this European Tech Champions Initiative, all EU Member States will reach the goal of doubling the number of European unicorns by 2030. Spain is contributing €1 billion to this fund of funds, at the level of countries such as Germany and France,” added Spanish Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence Carme Artigas. “Spain is already a talent hub and the place where the best ideas are born. To this end, we foster the EU's best legal framework for entrepreneurship. In Spain we created the Startups Law, and set up the Next Tech fund, a public-private initiative to channel investments and support Spanish scaleups, which is the largest dedicated to the deep tech sector in Europe.” 

“Spain is one of the biggest contributors to ETCI and it is a great pleasure for me to join its venture capital community in Madrid to present this European initiative,” said EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt. “As manager of the ETCI, the EIF will be working very closely with this community to offer all our experience and make ETCI a real Pan-European success story.” 

The ICO Chairman José Carlos García de Quevedo said that "within the framework of the ETCI initiative and through public-private partnership, the ICO Group, through AXIS, aims to contribute to the strengthening of competitiveness and the consolidation of a new productive system, promoting the creation and support of high-growth, technology-based Spanish companies that generate quality employment.”

Background information

About the EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF contributes to the pursuit of key EU policy objectives such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability and more.

About the EIB
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It finances sound investment contributing to EU policy goals. 

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), which consists of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), reported another year of impressive results in Spain, with record support for climate-friendly projects and overall financing signed in 2022 reaching €9.9 billion.

About ICO
Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) is a state-owned investment bank, attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. By granting loans, ICO supports innovative and sustainable business projects, both in Spain and other EU markets, to contribute to sustainable growth. As a National Promotional Bank, it provides financing to companies, with special emphasis on SMEs and the self-employed. 

About Spanish Secretary for Digital and Artificial Intelligence
As part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, the Secretary of State for Digital and Artificial Intelligence define the policy to promote the digitization of society and the economy, in a manner that respects individual and collective rights, as well as the values of the Spanish legal system. To this end, it is responsible for the functions of promoting and regulating digital services and the digital economy and society, dialogue with the professional, industrial, and academic sectors, promoting the digitization of the public sector, the inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation with other public administrations regarding these matters.

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