First European sovereign wealth fund backs Tioga Capital’s blockchain fund

2020/12/18

SRIW, a $4bn sovereign wealth fund in Europe, recently committed to Tioga Capital. The fund, which is based in Luxembourg, is highly oversubscribed in its first close.

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Brussels, December 18 th, 2020 - Tioga Capital is a European venture capital fund with a focus on blockchain technology. It was formally launched this Friday by Nicolas Priem (private equity professional), Michiel Lescrauwaet (tech & crypto investor), Olivier Lefebvre (fund and tax lawyer) and Patrick Van de Mosselaer (serial entrepreneur).

Oversubscribed exclusive first close at $17M
Over the summer, the team had announced a first close target of $12M out of a $50M fund and closed this Friday with over $17M under management. The fund is backed by several well known Belgian family offices (e.g. Van Hool or Vlerick), tech entrepreneurs (incl. Jurgen Ingels who also sits on the investment committee), and the Belgian sovereign wealth fund SRIW. The SRIW is investing through W.IN.G, its DeepTech focused team. Tioga is planning a second broader close in 2021.

Tioga is the first blockchain venture fund backed by a European sovereign wealth fund
Noteworthy about this first close is that Tioga received a strong vote of confidence from one of Europe’s sovereign wealth funds. Those tend to be conservative and amongst the last ones to venture into new technologies and strategies. “The US has had a head start on that front where the first institutional investors started building exposure to blockchain technology in 2019. Not surprisingly, this trend was kicked off by the Yale endowment, managed by legendary David Swenson” says Lescrauwaet. Van de Mosselaer adds: “Yale was also one of the first investors in the internet in the nineties. This has led them to build expertise early on, which the endowment capitalized on in future decades: it is the best performing endowment in the US. In Europe, on the other hand, providing growth funding has always been slower. In this context we’re extremely excited that we can bring the first European sovereign wealth fund on board to support the European blockchain & crypto ecosystem”.

Priem provides more color on the conversations with SRIW, the sovereign wealth fund: “we are honored to receive this vote of confidence from the SRIW. All-in-all, we were impressed with the SRIW team’s knowledge on blockchain technology and its use cases, which allowed us to move relatively quickly through the diligence process”.

Dislocation in the Blockchain market
Today, Europe counts about the same number of blockchain startups as the US. On the funding side however, there is a big dislocation in the market. Where the US has more than 100 specialized VC funds, Europe only has a handful. “What we see in the market today is American VCs doing more and more deals in Europe as valuations are more attractive. However, European start-ups are often looking for a strong local partner with a network in Europe. That’s where we step in”.

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