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A new investment fund from venture capital fund imec.xpand has raised 300 million euros for European deep-tech startups, or companies whose products require a long development time and a lot of capital. The new fund focuses on artificial intelligence, photonics, and biotechnology for medical diagnosis.

According to Tom Vanhoutte, partner at imec.xpand, the goal is not just funding, but also about building companies that can be leaders in the next wave of technological developments, reports Dutch financial newspaper FD.

Imec.xpand already has a track record of supporting innovative companies and has earlier focused on semiconductors and nanotechnologies, among other areas. The fund was initially established in partnership with Imec, a leading chip research institution in Leuven, Belgium.

Tip: Imec forced to cut ties with China

Most of the money in the new imec war chest comes from Roeselare-based Quaestor Wealth Care. This wealth manager invests the money of wealthy individuals through a separate investment vehicle that pools this capital.

“This way, we can also raise money from interested parties who would otherwise not qualify for a direct investment in the fund. We both benefit,”, the founders of imec.xpand say about this construction in an interview with the Flemish newspaper De Tijd.

Previous investment round

This is the Flemish investor’s second fund. An initial investment round seven years ago raised 116 million euros. It has now invested in 23 companies, mostly high-tech companies drawn from the ecosystem around the Leuven research institute.

Among them are two unicorns (or actually one-and-a-half), or unlisted companies with a valuation of at least one billion euros. The first was PsiQuantum, an American company working on a commercially usable quantum computer using imec technology. Celestial AI -also American- could be the second. This company recently raised another 175 million dollars for optical technology for use in AI chips.

Coming to the Netherlands

Imec.xpand is also setting its sights on the Netherlands, especially the Eindhoven region. It has already invested in Axelera AI and Philips spinoff Scil, a developer of chip manufacturing technology.

The fund also contributed to Onera, a start-up also based in Eindhoven that diagnoses sleep problems without patients having to go to the hospital. The fund has recently opened a branch in the Netherlands, located in the financial ‘Zuidas’ district of Amsterdam.

Also read: Imec wants more space in Leuven, expects strong growth until 2035