Juncker Plan: EIF makes history in Croatia with country's first social impact fund worth €30 million
Croatian start-ups with environmental and social impact expected to benefit from EIF- and EFSI-backed Feelsgood Venture Capital Fund;
Feelsgood is the first social impact fund in Croatia and the first VC fund in Croatia managed completely by a Croatian team;
EIF commitment is expected to have an important signalling effect for further investments with impact in Central and Southern Europe.
Croatian early- to growth-stage startups with an environmental and social impact will benefit from the country's first social impact fund: the €30 million strong, Feelsgood Fund, launched today in Zagreb. The European Investment Fund (EIF) contributed to the Fund with €15 million, almost entirely covered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe, or Juncker Plan.
The Feelsgood Fund will invest in Croatian startups operating in financial inclusion, agriculture and farming, circular economy, education and healthcare sectors. To measure and monitor the social impact (a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social or environmental challenge) of their investments, the Fund management team will also include two researchers from the University of Zagreb and Zagreb Institute of Economics. Companies from Slovenia will also be able to apply for support from the FeelsGood Fund.
European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The launch of the new Feelsgood Fund in Croatia - which is being financially backed by the European Investment Fund and the Juncker Plan – is good news. Not only are key sectors, such as the circular economy and healthcare, to receive a financial boost, but those companies will make a positive social impact.”
Grabenwarter Uli, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund said, “With support for Feelsgood Fund, the EIF is making yet another positive mark on Croatian economy. This time we are enabling new investment opportunities for country's startups with environmental and social impact to make sure we achieve sustainable development of Croatian economy and make sure Croatia is able to respond to major social and environmental challenges of today.”
Renata Brkić, founding partner of the Feelsgood Fund said, “Feelsgood will be ready to provide long-awaited smart capital for the SMEs in Croatia and Slovenia who are determined to yield positive social and environmental impact in addition to profit.”
The Fund is the first Croatian VC fund managed by a fully Croatian team, signaling the maturing and development of the local financial market. Currently there are three VC funds operating in Croatia, two of which were set up with EIF support.
About the European Investment Fund
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe, known as the Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission's top priorities. It focuses on boosting investment to generate jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Juncker Plan and provides first loss guarantees, enabling the EIB to invest in more projects that often come with greater risks. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise €433.2 billion in investments, including €1.2 billion in Croatia, and support 972,000 SMEs in the 28 Member States. More information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe is available here.
About Feelsgood Fund
Feelsgood Social Impact Investment Fund is the first venture fund in Croatia founded and managed by a completely Croatian team. The size of the fund is €30 million intended for investments in Croatian and Slovenian SMEs committed to provide environmental and social impact, in addition to profit. The fund is backed by the impact academic panel from four academic institutions from Croatia and Slovenia to advise the SMEs on the impact criteria and their progress measurement.
Source: European Commission