New venture capital fund launched

Lead Ventures to invest EUR 100m into growth-stage startups, new venture capital fund launched in Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest – July 24, 2018) – Lead Ventures, a newly founded venture capital company, is planning to invest EUR 100m in the next 5 years in Hungary and in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Lead Ventures has closed subscriptions for two capital funds, and is seeking to work with entrepreneurs looking for capital, and network to support their growth.

Lead Ventures’ goals are the following:

  • Invest EUR 100m in the next 5 years
  • Build a regional, later a European portfolio
  • Launch the first Hungarian VC management fund with international scope
  • Focus on entrepreneurs coming from the following industries: energy, mobility, retail, IoT, chemicals, sustainability among others.

Lead Ventures successfully closed two capital funding subscriptions totaling EUR 50 million each. MOL and MFB Invest, the investment arm of the Hungarian Bank for Development committed EUR 25m each to the first fund, which will mainly focus on Hungarian investments. Participation in the second fund was also led by MOL, providing EUR 25m, and by Hungarian Export-Import Bank (Exim), committing EUR 25m. Through this fund, Lead Ventures is planning to support businesses in the CEE region.

Lead Ventures aims to be a unique VC firm in the region by providing investments on average above EUR 2m. In the past, such transactions have typically been financed by international funds. By launching its new funds with experts and knowledge from the region, its aim is to fill this currently existing gap.

Lead Ventures’ mission is to find the most promising startups with unique stories, outstanding growth potential and global reach, not only from Hungary but from the entire CEE region. Through Lead Ventures, Hungarian VC money will enter the European market, as well.

“We have invested EUR 50m in total to the funds of Lead Ventures, because one pillar of MOL’s 2030 strategy mandates that we open up to new industries and innovative solutions,” said Zsolt Hernadi, Chairman and CEO of MOL. “We are convinced that through Lead Ventures we can give a boost to the entrepreneurs and together we’ll find the next success stories coming from the region” he added.

Lead Ventures is led by Abel Galacz. Earning his MBA at the University of California, Berkley, in the past 10 years worked as Vice President of Corporate Business Development, responsible for all of MOL Group's acquisitions and divestments, and later SVP Commercial at MOL. Through his positions, he has worked in almost every country in the CEE region as an acquisition and divestments or business development executive.

“In the past decade we have seen the birth of the first generation of startups and VC investors in the region,” observed Galacz, CEO of Lead Ventures. “These entrepreneurs achieved enormous results and put the region on the world’s startup map.

“We are ready and keen to help this community by being their partner in their next—second or third—round of investments,” he said. “In addition to the provision of capital, we can support these companies to grow by opening up our network and knowledge base for them.”
Lead Ventures’ Board members have solid experience in managing and growing bigger corporations. In addition to Mr. Galacz, the board members are: György Bacsa, Strategic Operations and Corporate Development SVP at MOL Group; Andras Becsei, CEO at OTP Mortgage Bank; Andras Dunai, former Chief Digital Officer at Central Media Group; and VC investor Miklós Kobor.
Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) has committed EUR 25m. “Through HiVentures we have already been supporting early stage startups by providing EU and MFB funds for them,” explained Tamás Bernath, CEO and Chairman of MFB. “With Lead Ventures we’d like to support more mature companies with proven track records on the market. Lead Ventures will help to build and create a sustainable and healthy financial ecosystem.”

The third investor of funds managed by Lead Ventures, Hungarian Export-Import Bank (Exim) has also committed EUR 25m. Gergely Jakli, CEO of Eximbank, commented: “Lead Ventures provides an excellent opportunity to support the growth of companies with competitive and export-oriented operations. It is a great opportunity to invest Hungarian capital into the region. This fund fits in perfectly with our strategy of supporting companies in this region with big growth potential,” Jakli said. “It is also a great addition to our existing investment portfolio.”

Lead Ventures is especially interested in entrepreneurs active in the following industries: energy, mobility, retail, IoT, chemicals, sustainability.

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