Invest-NL launches with focus on financing the energy transition and innovative scale-ups
The official launch of Invest-NL takes place today in Amsterdam in the presence of Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes. As a private company led by Wouter Bos, Invest-NL will provide financing to companies that will make the Netherlands more sustainable and more innovative. With a share capital of 1.7 billion euros, Invest-NL’s focus at launch is on the energy transition and on innovative, fast-growing companies (scale-ups).
In the context of the energy transition, Invest-NL is focusing particularly on electrification and energy, circularity, agrifood and the built environment. When it comes to innovative scale-ups, the focus will primarily be on industrial technologies. Invest-NL intends to expand the market and provide financial backing for what once seemed unbackable. Alongside a willingness to take significant risks, Invest-NL is also prepared to invest large amounts with long maturities. Impact is paramount for Invest-NL: without impact there can be no financing.
More risk capital available
Market parties in the Netherlands have difficulty financing major societal transitions. They face challenges to handle the high degree of uncertainty in terms of policy and technology, the multiplicity of stakeholders and the fragmentation of initiatives with relatively high learning and transaction costs. Moreover, various studies have shown that, relatively speaking, there is less risk capital available for young high-growth companies in the Netherlands compared to countries such as Germany, the UK or the US.
Finally, Dutch companies have thus far been less successful at obtaining funding from European investment funds and facilities compared to competitors in other countries, where the requisite venture capital is made available to companies by specific national funds and/or banks. The launch of Invest-NL means that the Netherlands now also has its own, comparable fund.
In line with parliamentary decisions and based on research, Invest-NL has decided to prioritise the financing of scale-ups and the energy transition. Entrepreneurs and financiers can visit the Invest-NL website (invest-nl.nl), where they can answer five questions to discover if their business plan may be eligible for financing by Invest-NL.
Wouter Bos, CEO of Invest-NL: “We have far-reaching ambitions at Invest-NL: our aim is to quadruple the amount of risk capital available for the energy transition within five years.We want to ensure that young, innovative companies here can scale up as successfully as they do in Germany and the UK, which means the Netherlands needs to become twice as effective in this regard as it is today.
Eric Wiebes, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy: “With Invest-NL we show that the great changes around energy and climate can go hand in hand with making a profit. Invest-NL’s financing and development power gets companies going and contributes to employment and economic growth in the Netherlands."
Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Finance: ”I am very proud of what we are achieving here. It is not common for a government to set up a state participation. And its objective is important: Invest-NL’s activities strenghten our innovative economy and contribute to the transition towards a sustanaible society.”
Invest-NL is a private company financed with public funds. It will actively participate on the commercial market as an impact investor, with the mission of making the Netherlands more sustainable and more innovative. The Dutch Ministry of Finance is the single shareholder. A supervisory board has been appointed to oversee the running of Invest-NL. Invest-NL currently has 40 employees. Additional information will be available at www.invest-nl.nl as of 16 January 2020.
About Wouter Bos, CEO of Invest-NL
Wouter Bos has extensive management and governance experience in both the public and private sectors and is strongly committed to the societal themes at the heart of Invest-NL’s approach. He began his career at Shell, working in the Netherlands and abroad, before going on to fulfil a series of political roles: Member of Parliament (1998-2002), State Secretary for Finance (2000-2002), chair of the Dutch Labour Party (2003-2007) and Minister of Finance (2007-2010). After leaving politics, he became a partner at KPMG and then head of the Board of Governors at VUmc, one of Amsterdam’s two university hospitals.