The PSL Innovation Fund announces a final close with a total of €76 million
Elaia and PSL have held a final close of their seed fund, the PSL Innovation Fund, with €76 million. In partnership with Université PSL, this new investment vehicle will pursue Elaia’s long-time strategy of providing seed funding to companies that are technology-intensive.
A unique model
PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) and Elaia Partners launched the PSL Innovation Fund in June 2018 to serve as a seed fund for deep tech startups that emerge from the PSL community. The fund is designed to support technology transfer and strengthen the PSL ecosystem by drawing on the university’s research and scientific excellence to bring technology to the market.
PSL President Alain Fuchs says, “I’m delighted with the PSL Innovation Fund’s fundraising success and its first year in operation. The fund is a landmark project for entrepreneurship and innovation within the PSL community. As I said a year ago, it’s intended to help the most impressive startups launched by our researchers, backed by technology transfer teams from across PSL. Thanks to the financial support of Elaia Partners via the fund, those startups have already had and will continue to have a heightened impact and will become the champions of the future.”
Says Xavier Lazarus, Managing Partner at Elaia, “The final close for this new fund marks a turning point for Elaia. We’ve recruited a group of nearly a dozen people that’s notable for its diversity in terms of background, age, gender and nationality. The PSL Innovation Fund offers a chance to invest at an earlier stage and support further growth at research-based spin-offs, while staying true to the financial performance objectives set by Elaia Partners.”
Backed by a host of investors
Following an interim closing of the PSL Innovation Fund, Elaia Partners won renewed support from its primary investors, including Bpifrance, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and BNP Paribas, while expanding its base of Limited Partners with numerous French and international investors that have complementary profiles (institutional investors, funds of funds, insurers, manufacturers from a range of industries, family offices). They include BNP Paribas’s Opera Tech, Famille C, KPN, MGEN, Naval Group, Vilmorin & Cie, Groupe VYV, the Institut Pasteur, Transvalor and the Fondation de l’Ecole des Mines.
Says Anne-Sophie Carrese, a partner at Elaia: “We are proud of this successful close for the PSL Innovation Fund at €76 million, which is a testament to investor interest and confidence in the business potential of technological startups that have close ties to research. After our initial target of €50 million, we oversaw an expansion in fundraising at the same time that we were deploying the initial investments. We will continue sourcing projects so as to ensure a quality dealflow that provides for top performance, while we increase the size of the Fund. We are confident that the Fund will generate an excellent performance.”
Ten investments in just a year
The vehicle is already partly invested, with funding provided to 10 companies: Aqemia, Cosmian, Gleamer, Newsbridge, Pili, Pocketstudio, Sancare, SeqOne and Transaction Connect, plus a tenth firm whose name remains under wraps. Two companies are currently under term sheet – evidence of the exceptionally dynamic pace at which the fund is being deployed. By the end of the investment period, the PSL Innovation Fund portfolio will have between 25 and 30 investments.