Legal Alert – Assymetric Private-Public Funds As Part Of A New Ict Investment Strategy Proposal
On 17 January 2013 a working group, the ICT 2015 Group, set up by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, published its final report including a 10 year strategy with a number of proposals to boost Finland’s economy with the help of information and communications technology. One of the key proposals in the report is the foundation of a new funding program to secure funding for both seed and growth ICT companies. The proposed funding would be 60 to 100 million euro per year of which 40 per cent would consist of public funding and 60 per cent of private funding. Of this funding 40 per cent would be used to finance seed and early stage companies and 60 per cent of the funding would target growth companies.
The ICT 2015 Group proposes that the program targeting seed and early stage companies would include formation of a number of public-private investment funds with different profiles targeting different business sectors. The investment funds would be asymmetric so that the Finnish State would accept a lower profit, however, taking into account the European Union rules on state aid. The role of the Finnish State would be to ensure a long term investment strategy and sufficient incentives for the management companies. All investments would be made on market terms. This would require 10 to 16 million public funding on a yearly basis.
The growth stage private equity market is proposed to be developed by the formation of a new fund of funds, Kasvurahastojen Rahasto II (successor to an existing fund of fund established by Finnish Industry Investment Ltd in 2009), which should be formed with a sufficient size in order to reach a total public-private funding of 40 to 60 million euro on an annual basis solely for growth venture capital fund investments. All investments should be made on market terms and be classified as private equity. This would require 14 to 24 million euro public funding on a yearly basis.