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The Polish Development Fund (Polski Fundusz Rozwoju, PFR) has announced the beginning of the recruitment process for PFR Starter FIZ. They are looking for venture capital funds ready to invest in early stage startups. It is the first of five programs of Start in Poland program, which has been publicly announced during the impact ‘16 congress.

“I wouldn’t want you all to go to California,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development and Finance during impact ’16, directly addressing startup founders and CEOs. Together with the Undersecretary of State at the Poland’s Ministry of Economic Development, Jadwiga Emilewicz, they officially introduced the details of the program back in June 2016.

The Start in Poland initiative gives all startups an opportunity to receive funding at all development stages – from pre-seed to scaling up and expansion. For the next three years, PFR will be investing in VC fund and small and medium enterprises in the Polish startup ecosystem.

All five programs within the Start in Poland fund are worth 2.2 billion PLN (3.7 billion PLN with private funds). Starter is a program dedicated to high-risk investments in startups that are still in the pre-seed phase. PFR Biznes FIZ, the second program, will be focusing on capital entries with the help of business angels. The remaining programs are PFR-NCBR CVC, PFR Otwarte Innowacje FIZ (Open Innovations) and PFR KOFFI FIZ.

Startups can count on an initial investment reaching an impressive 1 million PLN, and total investment (together with a so-called follow up) that can be obtained is as high as 3 million PLN.

“Our Fund of Funds will provide long-term investment in the Polish VC market. PFR will invest indirectly, by the means of financial intermediaries,” explained Maciej Ćwikiewicz, vice-president of PFR. The intermediaries will be responsible for sharing their know-how and experience and for investing in early-stage companies, providing them with the so-called smart money. They will allocate both public funds (782 million PLN from the PFR Starter FIZ) and their private capital.

“The objective of PFR is to develop a strong venture capital market – a market for financing innovative young companies. This market is a vital element of a modern Economy 4.0. By implementing the Start in Poland program, we are building a complete ecosystem that will transform our country into an innovation hub of European significance. The PRF Starter program will ensure financing for several hundred promising startups,” explained Paweł Borys, the president of PFR. “Our ambition is to achieve a manifold increase in the VC market in four to five years.”

The application process for VC funds will be open from 22nd May to 15th June via an online form.