One only has to look at the investors in the €117m ($135m) final close for Imec.xpand, the venture fund of nano-electronics research institute Imec, to see why it is worthy of GUV’s Fundraising of the Year award.

Aside from numerous university investors, none of which were named, several corporates threw their weight behind the fund – including major industrial players in the form of consumer electronics supplier Samsung, technology group Philips, manufacturing company Applied Materials and semiconductor supplier SK Hynix.ne only has to look at the investors in the €117m ($135m) final close for Imec.xpand, the venture fund of nano-electronics research institute Imec, to see why it is worthy of GUV’s Fundraising of the Year award.ne only has to look at the investors in the €117m ($135m) final close for Imec.xpand, the venture fund of nano-electronics research institute Imec, to see why it is worthy of GUV’s Fundraising of the Year award.ne only has to look at the investors in the €117m ($135m) final close for Imec.xpand, the venture fund of nano-electronics research institute Imec, to see why it is worthy of GUV’s Fundraising of the Year award.

From the financial sector, Imec.xpand was backed by insurers KBC Insurance and Belfius Insurance as well as financial services firm BNP Paribas Fortis, while in telecoms it secured capital from KPN Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of mobile telecoms firm KPN.

Flemish government involvement, including through the PMV investment company, as well as state commitments from the BOM regional development agency and central government-owned SPFI-FPIM, have ensured Imec.xpand has a deep well of expertise to draw on.

Imec.xpand smashed its original $116m target little more than a year after commencing fundraising, and additions to the vehicle’s portfolio have already fascinated, with an early-stage emphasis that has sought opportunities beyond its Flemish homeland.

Investees include digital olfaction technology MouSensor, which hopes to catalogue every odour on Earth digitally using innovations from City University of New York, in a bid to unlock greater insights into diseases including Parkinson’s.

Also of note is Netherlands-based wearable health device manufacturer Onera, a collaborative venture between Imec and R&D body Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. Onera is targeting sleep disorders through a combination of sensors and computer algorithms which accurately track the wearer’s behaviour during slumber.

Tom Vanhoutte, one of four partners at Imec.xpand, and his colleague Frank Bulens both joined the fund in 2017 from VC firm Capricorn Venture Partners, where they had been chief financial officer and partner respectively.

Highlights from earlier in Vanhoutte’s career include 12 years at senior management level at professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Bulens, meanwhile, brings expertise grounded in healthcare technology. He balances his work for Imec.xpand with an external adviser appointment at Capricorn and a role as managing partner of consultancy Lynx Consulting.

Imec’s innovation manager, Peter Vanbekbergen, is on his second stint at the institute – he was previously assistant vice-president for systems at Imec from 2003 to 2007. His role includes providing researchers and investors with the entire spectrum of tech transfer services, in areas such as concept formulation and business development.

Cyril Vančura is the investment team’s most recent appointment. He joined in January last year from industrial group Robert Bosch, where his aptitude helped him climb the ladder from a post-doctoral fellowship to investment principal at the corporate’s investment subsidiary, Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

Tom Vanhoutte of Imec.xpand (m) collecting the award. Photograph: Bart van Overbeeke / GUV

Other nominees

Cambridge Innovation Capital (University of Cambridge) – $196m for a $360m total
Lab1636 (Harvard University, Deerfield Management) – $100m
Osage University Partners III (Osage University Partners) – $273m
Poli360 (Politecnico di Milano) – $70m