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Giacomo De Simone (Photo: Parc Científic de Barcelona).

Clave Capital opens a delegation at the Barcelona Science Park

Clave Capital, the alternative asset investment company from Navarra (Spain), which possesses 20 years of experience and was the promoter of the first ‘tech transfer’ funds in this country, has opted for the Barcelona Science Park to establish its fourth national office. This delegation will focus its activity on the management of Clave Innohealth, an €80 million fund for early-stage disruptive projects in the bio-health field, establishing synergies with some of the leading agents in the sector to boost the R&D&i health ecosystem and to face the new challenges in the market.

Clave Capital is an independent investment fund manager, founded in 2001 in Navarra (Pamplona, Spain), with a business strategy based on public-private partnerships which encourages close and direct collaboration with entrepreneurs, management teams, investors and the innovative ecosystem, supporting the growth of companies from their initial phases.

The company is led by the Chairman and CEO, Jose Javier Armendáriz, supported by a team of partners who together provide extensive experience in management, business development and innovation management in various sectors, together with a network of experts in financial markets and venture capital.

Clave Capital was the promoter of the first ‘tech transfer’ funds in Spain. With two decades of experience and more than 90 investment projects behind it, the company currently manages a portfolio in which it has invested some 90 million euros in four areas of activity: Tech Transfer Food, high-impact technologies in the food chain; Growth, industrial SMEs; Energy, investments targeting new sectors of the energy market; and Tech Transfer Health, innovative projects in health.

Within this last investment platform, in February 2022 the investment manager launched a new fund of 80 million euros, Clave Innohealth, to promote and support innovative early stage projects in the bio-health field, with a first financial closure of 50 million euros. The fund received a commitment of 40 million euros from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), through its lnnvierte programme, after a competitive selection process which involved the participation of 11 investment managers. The rest of the capital was contributed by private investors.

Clave Innohealth will be managed from the Clave Capital headquarters, but the delegation that the Navarrese firm has just opened in the Barcelona Science Park, headed by Giacomo De Simone, will lead the investments made in Catalonia.

De Simone combines more than 10 years of experience in innovation management and the development of new products for the pharmaceutical industry, with solid experience in venture capital, as an investment manager in the Caixa Innvierte Start fund in Caixa Capital Risc. Member of the board of directors of several spin-off and start-up companies in the health sector. Before joining Clave, he managed the Innovation Unit of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

“The establishment of this new office is a very important step for the positioning of Clave Capital in Catalonia, the region that hosts the most important Biomedical Innovation Hub in Spain. Barcelona Science Park provides a vibrant environment for biomedical research and entrepreneurship in life sciences, being here will allow us to develop privileged relationships with many of the projects that are leading the Spanish biomedical innovation”, states the executive.

More than €80 M to promote disruptive projects in health

Through Clave Innohealth, the investment manager is committed to promoting and supporting public and private early-stage projects linked to the bio-health field with the potential to offer innovative products that respond to unmet medical needs.

“Our investment focus is on innovative initiatives, mainly in the fields of medtech, biotech, e-health and nutrition, we want both established companies, as well as projects in their constitution phase that are still incubating in hospitals or research and technological centres. Like all Venture Capitalists, we are obviously looking for highly disruptive projects, however, we are also open to analysing projects that are developing incremental innovation. The important thing is that the proposed solution provides differential factors, that it is scalable and that it generates a competitive advantage,” says De Simone.

The fund, with a duration of ten years, will carry out some 30–35 investments with an estimated return of over 20%. “The forecast is to make an average of six investments per year during the first five years of the fund, the minimum ticket per project is €300,000, which may be increased up to €3 million in follow-on operations,” he adds.

Clave Capital has extensive experience in this field since, of the €32 M it manages in technology transfer projects, 50% of this corresponds to the healthtech sector, in which it currently has a portfolio of 21 participating companies, 19 of which are from universities, research centres and hospitals.

From Proof of Concept (PoC) to the Series A round

Clave supports the creation of spin-off and start-up companies even before their incorporation, by directly supporting the development of the business plan and the management of the early stages, aligning interests with co-investors and the different partners linked to the projects.

“Our model is not limited to investing in companies in the growth phase, but rather in some cases we also act as a venture builder, as a catalyst for creating new companies from innovations linked to research environments,” explains De Simone.

Clave works closely with entrepreneurs to assess the projects “from their initial phases through to the Series A rounds, the last expansion series in which we can participate with the InnoHealth fund”, concludes the executive.