Faber launches €30 million fund to back Portuguese data-centric software startups
Portuguese venture capital firm Faber has announced the first closing of Faber Tech II at €20.5 million, the firm’s new fund that will focus on early stage data-driven startups starting from Southern Europe, especially Iberia, wanting to scale globally.
This new fund will target pre-series A and early stage startups applying next-generation data-related technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, among others, to transform global industries and businesses.
Faber Tech II will continue fundraising aiming to reach, at least, €30 million in the coming months.
In this first closing, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the local Financial Development Institution (IFD), were the cornerstone investors with a joint commitment of €15 million (backed by the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan and through the Portugal Tech program), joined by other private institutional and individual investors.
Faber warehoused already three initial investments, having co-financed a €15.6 million Series A made by SWORD Health – the Portuguese startup that created the first digital physiotherapy system combining artificial intelligence and clinical teams, led the pre-seed round of YData, a promising startup that created a pioneering offering a data-centric development platform that provides data science professionals the right tools to deal with the challenging task of accessing high-quality and meaningful data while protecting its privacy, and also co-financed the pre-seed round of Emotai, a neuroscience-powered analytics and performance boosting platform for virtual sports
After an initial investment cycle that started in 2013, aiming to pursue a long-term mission to be the best early stage and value-added venture capital firm in Iberia, Faber was a first local investor in many of the most promising startups like Seedrs (co-founded by Carlos Silva, one of Faber’s Partners, and who recently announced its merger with CrowdCube), Unbabel, Codacy, Hole19, among other successful Portuguese global startups.
Faber is now reinforcing its commitment to entrepreneurship focused on digital transformation through state of the art technologies, with the belief that their specialty focus and value added approach fills a gap in Southern Europe and that they will well-positioned to be early investors in the next vintage of Iberian high-potential data-centric companies.
Faber’s team brings together investment, entrepreneurial and technical expertise unique in the local market. The Partners Alexandre Barbosa, Carlos Silva, Sofia Santos and Rui Melo de Carvalho, are now amplifying Faber’s specialty and value-added approach with Faber’s new expert advisory network adding extensive experience in data/AI-driven innovation.
Across Iberia and the US, this expert advisor group includes about 20 experts, researchers, Data Scientists, CTO’s, Founders, AI and Machine Learning professors, that will work in assessing investment opportunities and in supporting portfolio development, offering insights around product, feedback about teams, advice about growth or introductions to relevant connections.
In this new and innovative model, Faber created a new role of Professor-in-residence, assigned to the renowned professor Mário Figueiredo from Lisbon’s leading tech university Instituto Superior Técnico, whose research interests include signal processing, machine learning, AI and optimisation, being a highly cited researcher in these fields.
Alexandre Barbosa, Faber’s Managing Partner, stated that “the success of the first close of our new fund allows us to foresee a growth in the demand for this type of investment, as we believe digital transformation through Intelligence Artificial, Machine Learning, data science are increasingly relevant for companies and their businesses, and Southern Europe will be the launchpad of a growing number of data-driven startups that will be a crucial engine of future growth and global industry transformation”.
Carlos Silva, Faber’s Partner, who founded UK’s leading equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, added: “Our specialised approach is distinctive in Iberia. The new fund will be an engine of innovation in the medium to long term, attracting and powering scientific and technological talents that are leading next-generation innovations in B2B cutting edge technologies”.
Commenting on the launch of the fund, EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix, responsible for the Bank’s operations in Portugal, said: “The EIB Group is pleased to partner with IFD as cornerstone investors into Faber Tech II. Venture capital is of crucial importance to help the most innovative start-ups accessing capital to grow. This investment, the fourth under Portugal Tech, confirms our firm commitment to support the Portuguese ecosystem of early stage tech companies and to attract more private investors into this promising market.”
Faber’s next investments through Faber Tech II are already being completed and will be announced soon, and other potential investments in the fund’s portfolio are currently under review.