FPI Innovation Fund LP, (“FPI”), the seed and venture capital fund targeting high return investments in the scientific, engineering and entrepreneurial sectors, today announces it has attracted and arranged a co-investment of €10m into ANF Technology, the producer of NAFEN™. NAFEN™ is the first ever superior-grade aluminum oxide nano fiber to be produced at commercially viable industrial volumes.
FPI typically invests directly at the earliest stage in a company’s development, when risks are higher but competition and required capital commitment are much lower. In the case of ANF Technology, FPI has subsequently attracted sophisticated co-investors at a later stage when risks have been reduced, business strategy developed and the core team has been built. This current third round of funding represents a commitment from the venture capital division of a major family office.
NAFEN™ is a breakthrough development in materials science. NAFEN™’s outstanding physical and mechanical properties, available at large scale production volume with commercially viable pricing, provide industrial players with the potential to unlock innovation across a wide variety of applications, ranging from aviation to biomedicine.
Alexander Timofeev, Managing Partner at FPI, commented: “To date, low nanomaterial production volumes and high prices have held back the wider application of nanotechnology at a mass scale. We are delighted to have identified and arranged this third round of investment, the largest to date, which is a strong commitment to support NAFEN’s widespread adoption across multiple industries”.
Tim Ferland, ANF Technology's Business Development Manager for North America, said: “FPI has attracted a committed pool of sophisticated investors into ANF Technology. This latest round is the clearest indication that investors are confident in ANF Technology’s scientific pedigree and business acumen. We expect the global profile of NAFEN™ to increase significantly as the testing of NAFEN™ samples develops into long-term commercial partnerships.”
FPI had previously led a €1m first seed investment round into ANF Technology in June 2010. In early 2012, ANF Technology received a second round investment of €0.5m, with two new co-investors participating.
The previous financing rounds enabled ANF Technology to begin synthesizing (producing) NAFEN™ at commercially viable industrial volumes. The new funding provides ANF Technology with the necessary financing to scale-up production levels and drive the introduction of NAFEN™ to the most promising target business sectors globally. The €10m investment is divided into two tranches of €2m and €8m.
Major industrial companies are currently testing NAFEN™ samples to determine its competitive advantage in materials and composites development, and how it can be used to boost application critical performance in extreme environments. Potential applications include composite ceramics, metal-matrix composites, paints and coatings, fuel cells, polymer composites, catalysts, electronics, filtration, biomedicine, advanced abrasives, aviation and aerospace.
FPI Innovation Fund LP is a seed and venture capital fund focused on transforming hi-tech scientific and intellectual property ideas into market-oriented and commercially effective business reality. The Fund identifies projects in Russia as well as globally with the focus on Russian speaking scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs from the former Soviet Union, many of whom have emigrated but still maintain strong professional ties to their native countries. The FPI team combines the experience of specialist scientists and investment professionals with an international level approach to investing in hard-to-access yet promising scientific, engineering and entrepreneurial sectors.
Aleksandr Timofeev, Managing Partner at FPI, commented: “Attractive seed capital projects are available in our sectors, but it takes specific skills and effort to find, reposition, restructure and develop them into commercial success. The FPI team is highly experienced in managing complex scientific projects from startup through to commercialization. We examine projects at their earliest stage, even before the business model is formed, to actively develop them using a hands-on approach, devising value-building strategies and working in partnership with the Russian and global investor community”.
FPI meets the gap between the major research breakthroughs by elite scientists from the former Soviet Union and the current low level of competence available in early stage venture investing into such opportunities. In this way, FPI brings together “smart money” with the demand for “smart ideas”, supporting the commercialization mechanisms in the area of industrial technologies.