Espoo, Finland – May 30, 2012
The new Verso Spin-off Fund has been established as part of the Nokia Siemens Networks’ new strategy and Nokia Siemens Networks is the first investor in the fund. The independent, market standard venture capital fund aims at the forming of new, independent companies from projects that are not in the core of the Nokia Siemens Networks’ strategy anymore, and offer initial funding. The aim is to get also other large companies as investors, thus helping the creation of new businesses in Finland.
”The aim of the fund is to invest in such projects that are no more part of the core activities of the company and that can be spun off. Without initial funding, the risk is that these projects are terminated and the capabilities and competencies built in the projects remain unused,” says Pekka Soini, Finland country director, Nokia Siemens Networks. “The Verso Spin-off Fund creates a model for large companies to invest in the initial capital of start-up companies. In Finland, funding for this phase has mainly been available from public sources.”
Anssi Kariola, who has been responsible for the new spin-off model and for establishing the fund, has been nominated to manage the Verso Spin-off Fund.
“The verso Spin-off Fund is off to a good start. In the first phase we received close to 40 applications, and the evaluation of their business potential has started”, Anssi Kariola says. “Our aim in the first phase is to create a portfolio of 10 – 30 start-up companies.”
The investment commitment from Nokia Siemens Networks is up to 10 million Euros. As part of the model, it will license its technology to the start-up companies. The fund is also looking for other investors, such as other large companies wanting to invest in their spin-off projects in a cost efficient way via the fund.
Several parties have advised on the creation of the new model, including the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finnvera and the Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship.
Finnvera is a potential investment partner to the Verso Spin-off Fund, and makes its co-funding decisions based on its own criteria. ”The Verso Spin-off Fund enables an important injection of new start-up projects and private funding in Finland. I believe that based on this model it will be possible to create a significant amount of new businesses that through cooperation can be built into real new growth companies,” says Petri Laine, investment director, Venture Capital, Finnvera.
“In the structural change of the ICT industry in Finland it is very important to focus on growth, innovation and creating new jobs. The objective of the verso Spin-off Fund model is to ensure that such viable projects that large companies are ready to give up, can get an opportunity for growth and independent success, and thus benefit the country’s economy, says counsellor Pertti Valtonen, Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
VersoVentures manages the Verso Spin-off Fund and seeks new investors to the fund.
About Nokia Siemens Networks
Nokia Siemens Networks is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. From the first ever call on GSM, to the first call on LTE, we operate at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology. Our global experts invent the new capabilities our customers need in their networks. We provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence to maximize the value of those networks, and the services to make it all work seamlessly.
With headquarters in Espoo, Finland, we operate in over 150 countries and had net sales of over 14 billion euros in 2011. http://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com
Nokia Siemens Networks
Phone: +358 50 514 9718
Phone: +358 7140 02869
Phone: +358 50 589 0520
Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Counsellor Pertti Valtonen
Phone: +358 50 500 3198