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Growth starts with a fresh idea – Finnvera’s 200th investment was made in Icebridge Ltd

29.04.2013

Finnvera made its 200th investment in a new way of thinking about familiar things. Icebridge Ltd of Tuusula developed a non-electric cooling method for airline food catering.

Seed Fund Vera Ltd, managed by Finnvera, has made investments in innovative, early-stage enterprises since 2006. During the past eight years, over 1,500 projects have been reviewed, leading to investments in 200 enterprises. Finnvera’s Venture Capital Investments is Finland’s leading early-stage venture capitalist. Aside from its own investments, it has collected over 200 million euros of private capital for its portfolio companies.

“We have gone through about 200 projects per year. The pace has been intense, and some excellent exits indicate that we have also been successful,” says Seed Fund Vera’s Managing Director Leo Houtsonen, who is responsible for Finnvera’s Venture Capital Investments.

Can the features of a refrigerator or a freezer be achieved without electricity?

Icebridge Ltd has developed a non-electric cooling system that can be used to chill the food served on airplanes. By means of technology utilising dry ice, food can be kept cool for 24 hours. This means that food for the return flight, too, can be packed at the airport of departure.

“Dry ice is widely used for cooling in-flight food. However, Icebridge has discovered a completely new way of using it, and as an investor, we believe that this technology will enable airline companies to achieve considerable savings in catering costs,” Houtsonen continues.

“Our products have global markets and in the future, our solutions can be applied to other sectors besides airline traffic. We are able to provide reliable and safe temperature control without electricity.  It’s great to have Finnvera with us to generate growth for this purely Finnish innovation,” says Jukka Hämäläinen, CEO of Icebridge.

Investments in start-ups to continue

Finnvera continues to invest in start-up growth enterprises. In keeping with the policy outlined by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in early April 2013, Finnvera will continue its direct investments until the end of 2017. After this, initial investments will no longer be made. The assets available will be used to ensure the continued operations of the portfolio companies. In accordance with this policy, Tekes will launch investment fund activities targeted at start-up enterprises during 2014.

The InvestorExtra service directed at private investors, which Finnvera introduced in 2008, gathered together 250 business angels interested in early-stage investment.  The service provided private investors with a vantage point to the field of early-stage enterprise activities.

“The public actor’s role is to be there to launch new activities and to create new practices so that operations can be privatised,” says Leo Houtsonen.

During 2013, the service package designed for business angels will be transferred to the private Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN).

Additional information:
Finnvera plc, Leo Houtsonen, tel: +358 400 379 252
Icebridge Ltd, Jukka Hämäläinen, tel. +358 50 313 6600
 

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