16 Feb Member Spotlight: Volta Ventures
Volta Ventures is a venture capital fund that specialises in providing funding for companies that offer innovative, deep tech solutions, including fintech companies, in the Benelux. Founded by Frank Maene and Filip Vandamme, along with 30 business angels, Volta Ventures is also backed by the Flemish government and the European Investment Fund. With 55 million assets under management, Volta Ventures is one of the largest venture capital firms focussing on early-stage companies in the Benelux. Frank Appeldoorn is a principal at Volta Ventures and works on the sourcing of new companies, closing deals and supporting portfolio companies in their growth.
In general, venture capital funding takes place in one of the most important phases in the lifecycle of a start-up. When angel investors might not be able to provide enough capital, and banks are not yet willing to commit due to a lack of stable cash flow, venture capital firms are capable of providing start-ups with the necessary capital to make those very important growth steps. In return, venture capital firms require their portfolio holdings to generate a good rate of return on investment, as the risk they take is often significantly higher than a bank or public equity investor.
Volta Ventures looks to invest in companies which have already launched their first product and hooked several customers. Their investment scope ranges from 250k to 2 million, at an approximate 25% equity stake in the target company. To make sure that the target company is capable of achieving success, Volta Ventures extensively screens companies for several distinctive traits: The composition and skill of the team, the uniqueness of the value proposition of their product and the size of the market they operate in. Creating success is however not a one-way street. Volta Ventures actively supports companies in their portfolio, employing experts from the relevant industry and providing with a big network of possible clients and advisors. This is where the background of the people behind Volta Ventures offers a hand, with their key employees all having experience in engineering and/or software, assuring they have a good understanding of the markets in which their target companies operate.
One of the examples is CashForce, a company currently in the portfolio of Volta Ventures. The company focuses on providing businesses with a better control of their cash management. The founders started their company in the Barclays incubator in New York and are currently expanding across the Benelux. Their value proposition stems from the ability to give their customers a strong insight into their cash positions, including foreign currencies, with the ability to make scenario analyses to allow for active risk management. It is especially these business to business initiatives in which Appeldoorn the most potential: They are scalable, have a clear business and earnings potential, and they are best positioned to benefit from the sales network of Volta Ventures. Furthermore, the market for business to consumer start-ups has been partially saturated over the last years, with many entrepreneurs focusing on the issues closest to home. Appeldoorn would therefore like to advise fintech entrepreneurs to see whether they might be better suited to provide solutions to other businesses, where there is still plenty of opportunity.
The general fintech market in the Benelux is maturing fast, according to Appeldoorn, with start-ups, VC’s and companies like Holland Fintech providing the basis for a strong, tech-driven future. In this environment, Volta Ventures is actively contributing in growing and developing good value driven fintech initiatives.