Open Circle Capital LLP, a venture capital fund manager based in Vilnius, Lithuania, announced its official start of operations and plan to invest up to 20 million euros in the commercialization of new technologies developed in the Baltic nation. Its fund will support projects with international potential in the areas of information and communication technology, robotics, and high-tech. “The goal is to discover and invest in the best Lithuanian technology creators, those with global ambitions and the most potential to succeed. We’ll provide them with the capital and know-how they need to establish and grow companies, to prepare to enter foreign markets,” said Audrius Milukas, the CEO of Open Circle Capital and one of its partners. Two-thirds of the fund’s capital is provided by INVEGA, a public institution which promotes access to risk capital, and the remaining third by private investors. The planned life of the fund is 10 years. According to Milukas, it expects to invest in 5-6 new technology companies a year, with small initial investments increasing over time to a maximum of 3 million euros per company. “Just as an indication, in ICT we’re looking for developers of SaaS solutions, apps, and cloud-computing business models. In robotics, the focus is on startups involved in component production, logistics, drones, and Industry 4.0. In high-tech, the fund is interested in developing medical, chemical, semiconductor, optics, and related technologies,” the fund manager noted. The Open Circle Capital Fund is run by an international team of partners with a track record of investments in nearly 100 technology companies in both Europe and the Unites States. “The four partners have participated in more than 80 technology-transfer transactions, managed seven funds, and sold businesses to global giants like Facebook, Saab, and Eli Lilly – so there’s a huge base of experience. We also have an open approach, seeking to join forces with other investors, including business angels, accelerators and venture capital funds,” Milukas said.
In bringing diverse competencies together to strengthen the Lithuanian startup ecosystem and create more Lithuanian business success stories, Open Circle Capital will also leverage its working relationships with universities and scientific institutions in order to help commercialize promising new technologies that are born in the academic environment.
Audrius Milukas, a corporate finance specialist who is a founder and board member at SME Finance UAB, is one of Open Circle Capital’s two Lithuanian partners. The second is Rokas Tamošiūnas, a well-known figure in innovation circles who actively develops early-stage technology companies and formerly led the StartupHighway accelerator. The two other partners are Jens Damsgaard, an accomplished venture capital manager and former Head of Technology Transfer at the University of Southern Denmark, and William Cardwell, a high-tech investment professional with strong technology-transfer experience who teaches at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and is currently based in Finland.Open Circle Capital in Lithuanian press: