KEEN Venture Partners has just closed its first fund.
Billy Wood

BT and TomTom execs to head up new €90m tech fund

A new venture capital firm headed up by a former Chief Executive of BT and a former COO of TomTom has just closed a €90m fund that it will look to invest in tech firms throughout Europe.

KEEN Venture Partners, which is based out of its London and Amsterdam offices, will focus its investments on innovation hubs in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, and has said it will also consider North American tech companies looking to expand into Europe.

Headed up by former BT exec Ben Verwaayen and TomTom’s Alexander Ribbink, the new VC has said it will look to make investments through its KEEN Venture Partners Fund, L.P. of between €5m and €10m using what it describes as a ‘thesis-driven approach’.

According to TechCrunch, the new fund will center its investments on three key areas that draw on the information and communications technology expertise and professional experience within the firm.

This includes ‘distributed intelligence’ innovations, such as big data and Internet of Things; ‘the prosumer continuum’, such as education technology and productivity tools; and ‘convenient transacting’, which includes Fintech platforms and payment services.

Following the closing of the new eight-figure fund, General Partner Robert Verwaayen, said: “This new Fund is the first from KEEN Venture Partners and we are pleased with the exceptional range of high-profile institutional and private investors, demonstrating a high level of confidence in the new Fund.”

Key investors in the fund include the European Investment Fund (EIF) Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), ING Netherlands, and KPN Ventures, along with private investors and entrepreneurs.

The new VC has also lined up some high-profile network partners to further support its work, including Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and Clare Johnston, Founder and CEO of The Up Group, amongst others.

Pier Luigi Gilbert, Chief Executive at the European Investment Fund, said that KEEN’s partners were some of the most distinguished individuals to head up a new VC in many years.

He added: “KEEN’s partners are among the most experienced operators we’ve seen starting a new venture capital fund, which is good news for the venture community.

“With offices in London and Amsterdam KEEN has a wide geographic reach across Europe, and a strategy that can support European SMEs.”

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