New investment fund for WUR start-ups

Published on
May 4, 2020

Emerging entrepreneurs that launch their start-up under the wings of Wageningen University & Research can apply for essential funding from a new fund: SHIFT III. This so-called multistage fund, provides start-ups with financing over a more extended period of time, to support the various stages of their start-up development. By the end of this year, a sum of 65 million euros will be available.

In the Netherlands, there is sufficient funding available for start-ups. However, this funding requires proven innovation as well as a considerable turnover. The SHIFT III fund is unique in that it provides capital for start-ups in an earlier stage of their business.

‘This fund helps us increase our impact because it enables us to develop more, and faster scaling, spin-offs,’ says Sebastiaan Berendse, director Value Creation at Wageningen University & Research. ‘This is because SHIFT III does more than just provide capital; the fund also provides support and expertise where needed. For example, by linking the best partners to the spin-off, so that its available potential can be achieved.’

SHIFT III is supported by the universities of Wageningen, Delft, Twente and Eindhoven. TNO and the Netherlands Venture Agency (Dutch acronym: RVO) have also expressed their support fort he new investment fund. 

Support all round

SHIFT III is a long term investment fund, and, as such, has a broad basis of investors. Besides provincial governments, Rabobank and private funds, companies that have previously borrowed capital from SHIFT predecessors also invest in the new fund. These entrepreneurs occasionally invest in particular start-ups and sometimes support in the development of new ventures. This helps avoid one of the pitfalls start-ups face: the lack of expertise and experience.

‘In addition to money, these partners also provide expertise and experience that are critical to the crucial phase start-ups are in, from the very start to and including a scale-up,’ says Tarique Arsiwalla. He founded Protix in 2009 and is now one of the SHIFT III investors. Protix is a Dutch company that produces proteins and lipids for sustainable animal feed. Plant-based food residues are used to feed larvae of the black soldier fly. Through funding obtained from SHIFT III predecessors, Protix was able to develop into a crucial research partner for WUR.