Six strategic investors have backed the public and private-backed European Investment Fund’s (EIF) first corporate venturing programme. The EIF is Europe’s largest investor in independent venture capital funds with €4.6bn committed and has been working on providing wider coverage of the early-stage market by setting up complementary programmes to help angel and corporate investors, as well as its debt-type instruments that fund small and medium-sized enterprises. The EIF is to formally announce its EIF Innovation Platform 2020 to breed new teams after it gains board approval but at the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium on Wednesday, Matthias Ummenhofer (pictured), head of equity funds at the EIF, said its €500m investment programme would be "a complementary tool to the VC programme" by focusing on the themes of health, smart cities, digital society and sustainability. He said the first corporate venturing fund, Bio2020, had six strategic investors as sponsors. Click here for presentation by Ummenhofer. The EIF Innovation Platform 2020 is part of the European Council’s proposal for “putting in place an EU-wide venture capital scheme building onthe EIF and other relevant financial institutions and in cooperation with national operators” announced earlier this year. Separately, the EIF in a paper, The Performance and Prospects of European Venture Capital, by Roger Kelly in its Research and Market Analysis division took a "critical look at possible explanations for poor European venture capital performance over the past two decades".  Kelly concluded: " By comparing to the US, a naïve conclusion might be that European venture performance would have been better had investment been undertaken in greater volumes, with more of a focus on early stage, and more of a sectoral/technical focus. However, correlation does not indicate causality. "It is likely that the industry has not reached a critical mass, because it is fragmented due to operating across a number of countries with different legal and regulatory regimes which makes cross-border investment more complicated. "It is also likely that the industry does not operate within as conducive an ecosystem as that which exists in certain parts of the US; this also impacts the demand side, which has often been overlooked in research in this area. "For these reasons, government policy to develop VC industries that has focused purely on volumes has often been unsuccessful…. Partly in recognition of this challenge, the commitments of the Innovation Union as regards the EU focus on developing instruments that ensure a high leverage effect, efficient management and simple access for business,…

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