International: PE Heavyweights Get Up to Speed –

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Speed Ventures, a Swedish venture capital/incubator company founded two years ago, has attracted E70 million ($64 million) of first round equity investment in what it claims is one of the largest fundings so far seen for a European incubator.

Among the recent proliferation of incubator propositions, Speed Ventures stands out in its two-year operating history and investors. Leading Speed’s investor line-up are Charterhouse Group International, Schroder Ventures and Soros Private Equity Partners; other participants include Chase Capital Partners, Chase H&Q Access Technology Partners, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, Thomas Weisel Partners, Sonera and Arctic Ventures.

Speed Ventures emphasizes the mobile commerce sector as well as the broader Internet space. Based in Amsterdam, the firm has additional operations in Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Munich, Germany and London. New SpeedHouses’ are planned to shortly open shortly in France, Italy and Spain. Speed Ventures provides full-service incubator support, including accommodation, recruitment, legal, marketing, information technology services, corporate finance and administration, all of which is sourced from a stable of best-of-breed’ supervisors. “We have already attracted 25 portfolio companies, 55 employees and more than 500 staff in the whole group – therefore taking a significant lead in the whole market,” said Speed Ventures’ Chief Executive Officer Anders Frisk.

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Niclas Gabran of Soros Fund management said that Speed is “ideally positioned to capture a large portion of the huge market opportunity in the Internet and wireless industries.” Schroder Ventures’ Richard Sanders, meanwhile, said Speed is by far the most impressive incubator established to date. Charterhouse Group International Chairman Merril Halpern added, “Speed Ventures represents an opportunity to capitalize on the rapid development of the Internet in Europe by investing in one of the few incubators pursuing a truly pan-European strategy. We look forward to participating in follow-on rounds of investment in businesses incubated by Speed,” he noted.

Speed Ventures aims to become the first global incubator and in pursuit of this goal will use some of the new funding to support the launch of other offices internationally.

Speed Ventures’ investees/incubees include in the e-commerce sphere and in the enabling technologies arena.