The Witelo Fund – established by PZU under the patronage of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Development – signed agreements with some of the world’s best VC funds: Atomico, Evolution Equity Partners and DN Capital. Witelo will actively cooperate with these funds to facilitate their future investments in the most innovative and promising Polish start-ups. Witelo Fund’s cooperation with NCBR will be of key importance for creating special financial incentives to invest in Poland.
On 1 March, in the seat of PZU’s Head Office in Warsaw, in the presence of Michał Krupiński, PZU President, Jarosław Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education, and Maciej Chorowski, NCBR Director, the Witelo Fund officially announced execution of agreements with three of the world’s leading VC funds: Atomico, Evolution Equity Partners and DN Capital. PZU allocated nearly 100 million zloty for investments in Witelo.
– This is a break-through moment in the operation of the Witelo Fund – emphasizes Deputy PM Jarosław Gowin. It has attracted the best global investors, which will make it possible to develop in Poland a venture capital ecosystem to the benefit of technologically advanced companies all over the world. For Poland this is a great opportunity not only to promote Polish business, but also to attract innovative know-how – adds the Minister of Science and Higher Education.
The Witelo Fund was launched in September last year. Over the next few years it intends to invest at least half a billion zloty in VC funds. But PZU’s role does not end with these investments.
– It will actively cooperate with VC funds to enable them to develop in Poland “success stories” like the ones they can be proud of globally. Entrusting funds to them, we have certainty that we will attain our objective – supporting innovative projects in our country. This is an important element of the strategy – to make PZU the most innovative group in Central and Eastern Europe – says Michał Krupiński, PZU President.
– It’s noteworthy that not everyone can invest in top VC funds. The selection process is very thorough. Hence the involvement of global VC funds in Witelo shows that PZU is a reliable partner. We are happy to invest nearly PLN 100 million in Witelo, but what is no less important is that thanks to PZU global VC funds have undertaken to actively look for investments in Poland – says Paweł Surówka, PZU Życie President.
The funds with which Witelo has just signed agreements are venture capital giants on a global scale. Among them, there is one of the best European funds – Atomico. Established over 10 years ago by Niklas Zennström, creator of Skype and Kazaa, the fund has a very strong investment team providing support to start-ups.
The next fund is DN Capital. This is one of the most successful European venture capital firms. Its two founders, Nenad Marovac and Steven Schlenker, have over 50 years of direct investment experience between them, and established DN Capital in 2000. Today DN Capital manages over €370 million across 4 funds, and has built globally recognizable firms such as Shazam. DN Capital has already undertaken to make at least one investment in Poland.
Evolution Equity Partners, in turn, is a fund established by the top management of the antivirus company AVG. One of the members of the Evolution team, Sylwia Hadaj, is Polish. EEP is focused on the prospective cybersecurity sector, thanks to which PZU will make a strong presence in this industry.
– We believe that cybersecurity will play a vital role in the nearest future and PZU and NCBR want to be part of it. The investment in Evolution will make it possible to use Polish resources: outstanding engineering staff experienced in international and Polish corporations – emphasizes Maciej Chorowski, NCBR Director.
Due to the financial involvement of the Witelo Fund, Evolution Equity Partners has undertaken to open its office in Poland (in addition to the existing offices in Switzerland and New York). Thanks to that, the Polish cybersecurity sector has an opportunity to become one of the key competence centers in the world. The new office will be opened in cooperation with PZU.
This is obviously not the end of Witelo Fund’s activity. PZU and the Witelo Fund intend to build bridges between the Polish and the global VC ecosystem. Together with the partners – Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Development and NCBR – the insurer will actively promote Poland in the international arena and support the use of the domestic potential through the best VC funds.
Establishing cooperation with Atomico, Evolution Equity Partners and DN Capital is the first step in this direction, and definitely not the last one. Please follow the activity of the Witelo Fund at www.witelofund.com