International – NeSBIC CTe Gains Foothold in Silicon Valley –

UTRECHT, The Netherlands/PALO ALTO, Calif. – NeSBIC, which set out to raise E150 million ($154 million) for its Converging Technologies & e-Commerce Fund (NeSBIC CTe Fund) expected an April close at E100 ($96.7 million) above target.

The fund has a stronger e-commerce focus than its predecessor but will actively pursue opportunities in underlying communications services and enabling information technologies, Managing General Partner Robert Wilhelm said.

Fortis, the fund’s sponsor, is providing a E50 million ($48.3 million) commitment, joined by corporate, private and international institutional investors. Wilhelm declined to name other fund investors at this stage but said, “We have some big ones coming in to what is an excellent quality shareholder base – there is so much interest in this asset class at the moment.”

An Alliance with Crescendo

Alongside the current fund-raising project, NeSBIC has put in place a co-location agreement with Crescendo Ventures, which gives the Dutch group a foothold in Silicon Valley. Following the final closing, one member of the CTe team will transfer from Utrecht to Crescendo’s Palo Alto base to coordinate links between the two groups.

The partners aim to leverage each other’s local expertise to help develop transatlantic opportunities for their investees. Crescendo was an investor in the first CTE fund but, because it has since established its own European operation headed by Roeland Boonstoppel, it will not commit to the new vehicle. The alliance between Crescendo and NeSBIC CTe Fund offers strong possibilities for co-investment but Wilhelm stressed that the strategic relationship is not based around exclusivity and that co-investment opportunities will be evaluated on a deal-by-deal basis.

In late February, the NeSBIC CTe Fund announced that it had taken a “significant participation” in, a pan-European e-commerce business based on “co-buying,” which enables members to band together to buy products or services at lower prices by bypassing local consumer markets. Launched in Sweden last April, has expanded into Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain and Italy.