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Former BT CEO launches VC fund KEEN Venture Partners

Ben Verwaayen

Ben Verwaayen

KEEN Venture Partners, a new venture capital firm co-founded by former BT CEO Ben Verwaayen, has closed a €90 million inaugural fund.

The VC fund said it will focus on investing in information and communications technology companies and intends to invest €5 million to €10 million per company.

KEEN will provide early growth capital for technology companies “with breakaway momentum” across Europe – with a particular focus on innovation hubs in the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.

The company, which will operate from London and Amsterdam, will also consider North American-based technology companies looking to expand into Europe.

The newly established VC firm was set up by former BT and Alcatel-Lucent CEO Verwaayen; former COO of TomTom, Alexander Ribbink; and former principal at Prime Ventures, Robert Verwaayen.

Key investors in the fund include KPN Ventures, ING Netherlands, Dutch Venture Initiative, and the European Investment Fund – which benefits from EU support under the COSME programme funded by the European Commission.

“As a team we are passionate about supporting scale-up technology companies to become globally leading businesses. With our collective backgrounds, approach to investing and fresh capital we believe we can support the most ambitious entrepreneurs,” said KEEN general partner, Alexander Ribbink.

Herman Kienhuis, director of KPN Ventures, said: “We’re excited to work with KEEN Venture Partners as a way to further expand the scope and opportunity of KPN Ventures to engage in partnerships with innovative tech companies.”