Urbain Vandeurzen and 20 business leaders launch Smile Invest
New growth capital fund to support innovative Benelux companies in their growth ambitions
Brussels, 1 June 2017 – Leading entrepreneur Urbain Vandeurzen will today launch Smile Invest (Smart Money for Innovation Leaders), together with 20 prominent business leaders across the Benelux. Smile Invest is a growth capital fund that will invest in innovative, internationally operating growth companies from the Benelux countries. The fund will specialise in three growth sectors: ICT and high-tech; digital healthcare; and new consumer products and services. The fund will bring its investors’ and management team’s capital, experience and expertise to promising enterprises with global ambitions aiming to distinguish themselves through digitalisation and innovation. Smile Invest aims to attract 300 million euro in capital. The fund has already attracted 250 million euros as of the first closing on 31 May.
Smile Invests brings together a broad coalition of 20 renowned entrepreneurs, investors and wealthy families from the Benelux. The three core investors are the Urbain Vandeurzen, Vic Swerts and Jan Toye families. The core investors all believe in the power of promising entrepreneurs and are keen to support them with their expertise and capital. This is an unprecedented joining of forces in terms of talent and experience in the region, and will make Smile Invest the most important private growth capital fund in the Benelux today.
Smile Invest combines the strengths of entrepreneurial investors with an experienced management team to support growth companies and scale-ups. The initiative focuses on innovative growth companies and hidden champions with international ambitions in three sectors: the ICT and high-tech industry; digital healthcare; and new consumer products and services.
Urbain Vandeurzen, chairman of the Smile Invest investment committee: “We aim to invest in innovative and promising enterprises in the Benelux that foster international ambitions, and to help them to grow, innovate, operate and develop to become genuine market leaders. We have a strong team of investors and experienced experts, all of whom believe in the power of promising entrepreneurs, and wish to use their expertise to offer our companies support, guidance and coaching, in addition to the funds needed to reach their ambitions.”
Smile Invest (Smart Money for Innovation Leaders) reflects capital with expertise, guidance and entrepreneurship. The growth capital fund aims to work with growth companies and scale-ups in a professional, yet empathic manner. It has adopted a unique positioning and will occupy a place in the strong mid-field, filling the niche between local investors and international growth capital funds. It will invest in around 15 companies, typically ranging from 10 to 40 million euro.
Bart Cauberghe and Thomas Dewever, Managing Partners of Smile Invest: “Smile Invest works according to an evergreen structure. This means that the investment fund focuses on long-term success, and has greater flexibility to structure deals. The fund structure is organised in such a way that there is no mandatory exit, and we will be able to take shareholdings in both majority and minority investments. The new capital can be used to facilitate growth as well as buy out existing shareholders.”
By the first closing (31 May 2017), Smile Invest has attracted 250 million euro, and aims to further expand the group of investors over the next few months.