One of Switzerland’s largest insurers, Helvetia Insurance, is launching its own venture fund for investments in start-ups companies.
The newly-established Digital Ventures department, which is part of Helvetia’s Corporate Development, will be responsible for the fund.
The goal of the fund is to help drive 'forward digitisation' through investing systematically in start-ups which are contributing to the digital transformation of Helvetia’s existing core business, thus facilitating targeted business model innovations.
Around CHF 55 million (€51 million) will be invested in approximately 25 young companies over the next few years. Helvetia will set up a fund management company in Luxembourg for this purpose.
Focus on insurtech
The fund will pursue Helvetia’s strategic and financial goals, while also focusing on insurtech start-ups, which are young companies active in the traditional value chain of an insurer.
It will also invest in start-ups with business models linked to Helvetia’s business, as it aims for operational cooperation with all start-ups.
The investments are therefore to be made primarily in countries in which Helvetia operates, namely Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Spain.
Commenting on the launch of the fund, Group CEO of Helvetia, Philipp Gmür, who assumed the position on 1 September 2016, said: ‘The Helvetia Venture Fund will make a substantial contribution to the successful implementation of the helvetia 20.20 strategy. In order to make use of business model innovations, we want to invest in the appropriate start-ups and work together with them.’
The insurer will partner with Swiss venture capital firm b-to-v Partners AG to give its new fund access to sufficient start-up deal flow and build on b-to-v’s experience on the market.
In May 2015, Helvetia's CIO Ralph Honegger was featured as Modern Investor's cover star.