Dawn Capital, a UK-based early stage technology investor, has closed a £165m ($232m) fund with backing from the EU-run European Investment Fund (EIF), Techcrunch has reported this week.
The Dawn III fund has been given $74m by the EIF, a move that signals the EU will continue to support UK-based investors provided they offer finance to European businesses. Dawn’s portfolio is equally split between British and other European companies.
Dawn III was also supported by the British Business Bank through its British Business Investments arm.
The EIF’s support for Dawn has surprised many observers given that UK’s venture capitalists believed the EIF had effectively stopped financing the country’s VC funds as part of the Brexit process. Last year, the EIF said it had started to take a more considered approach to supporting UK companies and funds.
According to a report published by the Financial Times today, the European Investment Bank – which owns a stake in the EIF through a public-private partnership – had reduced its funding of UK enterprises by two-thirds between 2016 and 2017. Last year, only 8% of its investments were UK-focused, down from 27% in the previous 12-month period.
An EIB document seen by the FT stated that, while the bank has not formally cut off the supply of funding to the UK, the drop was a result of the increased complexity of concluding deals that was inevitable after the Brexit referendum decision.
However, news of the Dawn III deal does suggest that the EIF will to some extent remain open for business – at least until the Brexit process is completed – provided funds have some form of European focus.