- Empower Capital, the EIF-backed equity and quasi-equity investment firm that managed a €21M growth fund for Bulgarian companies, expands its business model and rebrands to Invenio Partners to better reflect its regional approach.
- With the continued support of EIF, Invenio Partners launches a new €55M regional private equity and growth equity fund, Invenio Partners Fund II, with a mandate to invest in SMEs in Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia.
- Invenio Partners announces its first two investments in SAT Health, a Bulgarian healthcare data analytics and consulting company (€3M investment), and Cycle Gets, a manufacturing plant for alloy bicycle and e-bike frames in Europe (€2M).
Invenio Partners will be managed by the investment team of Empower Capital – Elvin Guri, Stanislav Nikolaev, Slavcho Parushev, and Tihomir Dyankov, and will bring on board as a partner Tony Romani, Board Member and Co-Founder of The Romanian Investor Relations Association. He will take charge of developing the Romanian market.
“The name Invenio Partners reflects much better our focus to discover the true potential in the companies we invest in, not only in terms of market expansion potential but also in identifying opportunities that would result in operational improvements and vertical and/or horizontal integration. We are expanding our efforts to support the fastest growing SMEs in Romania and Serbia, while Bulgaria remains our core market,” Elvin Guri, CEO of Invenio Partners, told The Recursive.
Invenio Partners Fund II will target equity and quasi-equity investments between €3-10M in companies. The fund will operate across a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, light industry, transportation and logistics, food processing, technology, healthcare, education, and hospitality.
“Apart from EIF, the fund is heavily supported by two local pension funds as well as a number of local and regional family offices and high net worth individuals. The fund was officially launched in December 2021, but we are still actively fundraising, hoping to do a final closing by the end of Q2 2023,” Tihomir Dyankov, Partner at Invenio Partners, explains.
The new regional strategy of Invenio Partners
The former fund manager, Empower Capital, was founded in 2014 to manage the €21M industry-agnostic Empower Capital Fund I, which was co-financed by the European Investment Fund (EIF). Being the pioneering equity and quasi-equity fund in Bulgaria, Empower Capital Fund I, provided growth-stage Bulgarian companies with access to alternative types of financing. Some of the companies which the fund invested in and edited include City Clinic, Cremio, and Fidelis Research.
To some extent, the new fund manager, Invenio Partners, continues the strategy of Empower Capital, as it will remain an industry-agnostic VC firm that provides growth and buyout funding. Another similarity between Empower Capital and Invenio Partners is the investment criteria for target companies to generate annual turnover in the range of €3-25M. In addition, the investment focus of Invenio Partners will remain in the equity segment under €10M, and the fund will continue to co-invest with other partners.
The main change is connected to the geographical expansion of Invenio Partners to include Romanian and Serbian companies under its radar. Unlike Empower Capital, which invested in early-stage companies, the new fund manager will support only growth companies that are looking for regional expansion or industry consolidation.
The first companies in Invenio Partners’ portfolio
The two announced investments of the fund amount to a total of €5M. The first one continues the support of Cycle GETS – one of the very few manufacturing plants to develop and produce alloy bicycle and e-bike frames in Europe, which was backed by Empower Capital. The company aims to fill a gap in the bike frame industry by positioning frame production closer to European bike manufacturers. Stanislav Nikolaev, Partner and COO at Invenio Partners, explains that the continued support for Cycle GETS falls within the fund’s strategy to discover and promote export-oriented companies.
“We invested €2M to continue supporting the expansion of the companies’ manufacturing capabilities, hoping to decrease lead times for the production of alloy frames to 8-12 weeks thus challenging the lengthy and laborious process of supplying frames from Asian producers,” Tihomir Dyankov shares, adding that the investment would allow Cycle GETS to realize its plans to start manufacturing a robotized series of frames. This would lead to process optimization, improved efficiency, and higher quality. At full capacity, the company is expected to produce over 200,000 units annually.
The second company in which Invenio Partners invested €3M is SAT Health, a Bulgarian healthcare data and analytics company. Founded in 2017, the company will use the financing to expand its regional footprint, develop new product offerings across its business lines and accelerate its technological capacities.
“Ever since its establishment, SAT Health has focused on providing quality insights into the Bulgarian healthcare system to global pharma companies. The investment from Invenio Partners will help us to expand both our product lines and our geographical footprint. We are especially excited about our latest offerings in telemedicine, which would provide better access to healthcare, reduce unnecessary visits to the doctor and improve patients’ adherence to the prescribed therapy”, Alexander Alexiev, Founder and CEO of SAT Health, shares.