UGent, VUB, UAntwerpen, UHasselt, ULiège, VITO and Imec are all among the partners of Qbic, which has raised $54m for its third fund.

Qbic, the Belgium-based multi-university venture capital firm, today announced a first close of its third fund at €49m ($54m) thanks to investors including Noshaq, an investment company that also operates its own spinout-focused vehicle, Noshaq Spin-Offs, in partnership with University of Liège.

Limited partners also include insurance and financial services provider KBC, banking group BNP Paribas Fortis, as well as state-backed investment companies SFPI-FPIM, PMV, LRM and Finance&Invest.Brussels, and unnamed family offices and private investors.

Qbic specialises in investing in early-stage deeptech, software, biotech and medtech spinouts originating from its roster of partner institutions – University of Ghent, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Antwerp, University of Hasselt, University of Liège, Imec and VITO, as well as eight hospitals.

The firm invests in line with the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment and environmental, social and corporate governance principles form an integral part of its selection process.

Qbic raised its second fund in 2017 and has grown its portfolio to 19 companies since then. The first vehicle had launched in 2012 and backed a total of 18 companies by the time the firm went on to raise Qbic II.

The firm has not specified a target size for the fund but noted that it expected it to be its largest yet.

Its leadership team include Sofie Baeten, chief executive and managing partner, while Steven Leuridan and Cédric Van Nevel were promoted to partners in conjunction with the launch of Qbic III. Sara Vandenwijngaert serves as investment manager.

Baeten said: “We are very excited to announce the launch of our new fund, with which we will continue to invest in the most promising seed and early-stage projects emerging from our excellent knowledge partners.

“We are very grateful to our knowledge partners for the trust they place in Qbic and look forward to continuing our collaboration with them. A big thank you to our investors as well who have demonstrated their confidence in our team and our ability to provide financial and strategic support to new ventures in this wonderfully innovative ecosystem.”

Rik Van de Walle, rector of University of Ghent, added: “Qbic occupies an essential niche in this ecosystem by providing very early-stage support for innovative technology. The fund works closely with the tech transfer offices of partnering universities and research institutes.

“With their hands-on approach, they nurture ideas from concept to company and they propel entrepreneurs from start-up to scale-up. We look forward to our continued fruitful partnership with the fund.”

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).