CapitalT: 'We look very emphatically at the team'
CapitalT is an investment fund that invests, at a very early stage, in start-ups focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI). What makes the fund different from other tech funds and why the partnership with IFG? Co-founder Janneke Niesen explains.
'In 2019, I started setting up CapitalT together with Eva de Mol,' Janneke says. 'I myself have an entrepreneurial background and was active as an angel investor. Eva spent years researching entrepreneurial teams and then started working on the investment side. We have since made fifteen investments since February 2020 and CapitalT has a total fund size of €50 million.'
Specifically, what is your focus?
'We invest exclusively in young tech companies that demonstrably solve a problem with AI. In addition to the Netherlands, we also do this in Northern Europe, England and sometimes the United States. In doing so, we mainly look at promising start-ups that are involved in climate technology, digital health, education, Future of Work and New Social Tech.'
What are the main concerns in this regard?
'Once it is clear whether there is a market for the product or service, we look very specifically at the start-up's team. We want to know exactly whether the team can actually realize the company's vision. Using a scientific model developed by Eva, we try to find out in a data-driven way. This allows us to look at teams objectively and preconceptions are removed from the investment process. So we invest purely on the basis of facts instead of, as you still too often see in our world, relying on your gut feeling.'
How did the contacts with IFG come about?
'The regional development corporations are, of course, important investors in our country. From that background, we approached them all. It turned out that our strategy and vision dovetailed perfectly with those of IFG. Especially also because of our focus on teams in combination with AI. In a province like Groningen, with renowned knowledge institutions and countless talented IT professionals, they saw great opportunities just like we did. Hence we decided to work together.'
How do you envision that collaboration?
'Because we look at investing differently and because of the way we present ourselves, we may find companies that IFG itself has a little less on the radar. In that sense, I think we are complementary to each other. When the collaboration is successful? When we find a tech company in Groningen at an early stage that subsequently grows into an example for other Dutch tech companies. That is also exactly what we have in mind.'