ICO's venture capital firm celebrates 30 years

ICO's venture capital firm celebrates 30 years

ICO's venture capital management firm, Axis, was the first to be registered in Spain and is a leader in this sector.

It currently has €2 billion under management through three funds: Fond-ICO Global, Fond-ICO Infraestructuras and Fond-ICO Pyme.

Since its launch in 2013, Fond-ICO Global has helped to create 35 new private funds, to which it has allocated almost €900 million. These funds will invest at least €3.6 billion in Spain.

Axis, ICO's venture capital management firm, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It was created on 3 June 1986 as the first venture capital management company registered with the Spanish Securities Market Commission (CNMV). It has since established itself as one of the leaders in Spain's venture capital sector and is currently one of the most active operators in this field.

Axis currently manages €2 billion through three venture capital funds: Fond-ICO Global, Fond-ICO Pyme and Fond-ICO Infraestructuras.

Fond-ICO Global

Axis launched Fond-ICO Global in 2013, as the first fund of funds with public capital in Spain. It was intended to encourage the creation of private venture capital funds that invest in companies in Spain. The fund seeks to offer an alternative to bank financing, strengthening the equity structure of Spanish companies and their internationalisation and growth.

Fond-ICO Global was launched with a size of €1.2 billion, which was increased to €1.5 billion in November 2015 thanks to its excellent results. Since its creation, it has held five rounds to select funds using tenders based on objective criteria, in accordance with the principles of open disclosure, competition, equality and transparency at all times.

The Fund is involved in all types of private equity stages: incubation, venture capital, growth capital and debt. Consequently, Fond-ICO Global not only fosters innovation and enterprise, but also promotes corporate growth and expansion.

During the first five rounds, Fond-ICO Global decided to participate in 35 new private funds. Outperforming initial expectations, it has already invested in 24 of these funds in just two and a half years, and despite the short time frame it has already started to generate returns on some of these investments.

These 24 funds have already invested in 130 Spanish companies, employing almost 50,000 people. These companies are in a wide range of sectors, such as consumer goods, distribution and services and over 80% of them are SMEs.

Fond-ICO Global has a significant multiplier effect. As a result of the €900 million approved to date, private funds are expected to invest at least €3.6 billion in Spain. In other words, for every euro of public money invested by Fond-ICO Global, private funds have committed to investing almost four euros in Spanish companies.
The sixth round was announced in December 2015. This will be completed in the coming weeks, allocating up to €154 million to the six selected funds. At least one more round is expected to be held this year.

Fond-ICO Infraestructuras

This Fund was set up in 2011 as a conduit for non-bank financing in the energy, transport, social infrastructure and environment sectors. 

Thanks to this initiative, to date some €120 million has been committed to seven companies in Spain, USA, Chile and Colombia for infrastructure projects that provide significant support to the internationalisation of the companies involved. 

Through this tool, Axis is helping to widen the range of alternatives to bank financing for long-term infrastructure projects, while supporting the international expansion of Spanish companies.

Fond-ICO Infraestructuras also contributes to ICO's commitment to the Investment Plan for Europe, known as the "Juncker Plan". The recent signing of a €50 million European Investment Bank (EIB) loan, using a ground-breaking financing structure through Fond-ICO Infraestructuras, will enable the Fund to increase its investment in infrastructure and energy projects, making it a major co-investment tool for this Plan in Spain.

Fond-ICO Pyme

Fond-ICO Pyme was set up in 1993 to inject capital into companies for their expansion plans and to promote the development of Spain's business sector, boosting the economy and job creation. Since its creation, the Fund has supported more than 150 companies and 20 funds through more than €300 million of capital and participation loans.

Through Fond-ICO Pyme, Axis has also collaborated in the implementation of European initiatives to promote alternatives to bank financing in Spain, such as the Fondo Isabel la Católica and the Fondo NEOTEC.
AXIS and the European Investment Fund (EIF) launched the Fondo Isabel La Católica in 2014, with €30 million. This pan-European project seeks to help Spanish entrepreneurs through the involvement of professional investors and business angels in the initial stages of their projects. At the end of 2015, this initiative had approved over €11 million in investment commitments through co-investment agreements with seven business angels that have now invested in 21 companies.

NEOTEC was created in 2006. It focuses on innovative companies with a strong technology component, in the initial stages of their development. It is managed by the EIF, with an investment of €183 million in 12 funds and two co-investment funds.