Ljubljana, 26 July 2021 – The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), the European Investment Fund (EIF) and SID Bank, the Slovenian export and development bank, signed today an agreement establishing the first regional platform for launching a fund for financing commercialisation of innovative technological solutions and intellectual property of Croatian and Slovenian universities and research institutions worth at least EUR 40 million.
The Chief Executive of the EIF Alain Godard, President of SID Bank’s Management Board Sibil Svilan, President of HBOR’s Management Board Tamara Perko and Member of HBOR’s Management Board Hrvoje Čuvalo signed today in Ljubljana the agreement for the establishment of the regional platform for the transfer of technologies (Central Eastern European Technology Transfer – CEETT) from universities, research institutes and centres into the economy, worth at least EUR 40 million.
The funds of this platform, financed by HBOR and SID Bank each with an amount of EUR 10 million and the EIF with EUR 20 million, will be invested in the establishment of the regional fund for the transfer of technologies, i.e. venture capital fund for financing research projects, the development of technologies and intellectual property with potential commercial value for the economy. It will be possible to finance projects that are being developed at Croatian and Slovenian universities and research institutes and centres, which are in the phase of proof of concept and where financial means are needed to assess the feasibility of the concept and sustainability of transferring research results into commercialisation process. At least EUR 15 million will be invested from the fund in the projects of Croatian scientific institutions.
According to the EIF analysis, it is estimated that in the next 5 years, universities and research centres in Slovenia and Croatia will generate more than 350 patent applications and 100 spin-off companies which could be financed via the CEETT platform.
“Croatia does not significantly lag behind in the development of patents and new solutions; however it does lag behind in their application in the economy. Namely, both the Croatian and the Slovenian markets lack a link in financing, due to which many valuable patents and technological solutions never reach commercialisation. This is the riskiest form of investment and, therefore, private capital is rarely invested in such projects. Our role, as development banks, is to fill this gap and enable a strong link between science and entrepreneurship. In this way, we will encourage not only the commercialisation of the achievements of our scientific institutions, but will also ensure the growth of our economy based on the application of new and innovative solutions with high added value,” said Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR.
“The sustainable development of the Slovenian economy and Slovenia will depend strongly on whether Slovenia will be an innovator, i.e. on investments in science, research, development, innovations and human capital. SID Bank has for a number of years been active in this field with its programmes of debt funding research, development and innovations and technological and development projects in the economy. In cooperation with the EIF and the HBOR, existing programmes for equity and near-equity financing of companies will be upgraded (EUR 100 million SEGIP in Slovenia and EUR 80 million CROGIP in Croatia), and a CEETT platform set up, which will provide funds via the capital venture fund for technology transfer amounting to at least EUR 40 million for financing those research projects, scientific achievements and intellectual property of universities and research institutes in Slovenia and Croatia which will be estimated to have potential for commercialisation on the market and for use in the economy, and support for the establishment of innovative spin-off companies. In this way connections between research institutions and businesses are strengthened with the aim of Slovenia again being ranked amongst leading innovator countries and increasing the competitiveness of the economy which SID Bank will further encourage with the other financing and insurance programmes,” said Sibil Svilan, President of SID Bank’s Management Board.
“With the launch of the CEETT, the EIF, SID Bank and HBOR are making financial history in the EU, Slovenia and Croatia. We have created the first-ever multinational platform for technology transfer in the European Union. At the same time in Slovenia and Croatia, CEETT is the first long-term solution for financing of research projects and protection of intellectual property of local universities and research institutes and, equally important, for financing of technology transfer. The EIF is very proud of our contribution to further advancement of scientific research in the two countries and I would like to thank our partners in SID Banka and HBOR for their energy and hard work in setting up the CEETT,” said Alain Goddard, Chief Executive of the EIF.
The EIF will implement a tender procedure for the technology transfer fund management company. Call for tenders is expected to be open until October this year, and the selection is expected to take place in the first half of 2022, when the fund should start operating and making the first investments.
The establishment of this fund is a continuation of HBOR’s activities in developing the capital investment market. In cooperation with the EIF, HBOR has launched four funds in the last two years, one for start-ups and three for more mature companies, the total size of which is expected to reach almost EUR 300 million.