While it is true that Polish scientists conduct research of outstanding quality, far too often the commercialization of their solutions is beyond their reach. One of the obstacles preventing them from succeeding is the lack of funds for launching their solutions to the market. During the impact’17 conference, Aleksander Nawrat from Polish National Centre for Research and Development (Narodowe Centrum Badań i Rozwoju, NCBR) and Małgorzata Walczak from PFR Ventures discussed the potential of the NCBR programs addressing this issue.

NCBR wishes to empower researchers and scientists by providing them the access to two brand new funds: VC (venture capital) and CVC (corporate venture capital). The second fund, organized in cooperation with PFR Ventures, is a novelty on the Polish investor market. In a CVC, the corporation is treated both as a strategic leader and as a regular investor.

“We want to create an active venture capital market in Poland. In order to achieve that, we need to learn how to invest and take risks,” said Aleksander Nawrat from NCBR.

The main objective of the new funds is to support early-stage startups. “These investments are high-risk, as the probability of success in the case of startups is still unsatisfactory. It stems from the fact that the majority of them have no access to funds once the initial capital is depleted. Additional investment will allow them to overcome the obstacles that have kept them away from scaling up,” said Nawrat.

NCBR is known to have financed a substantial part of the Polish innovation ecosystem for the last couple of years. Their two newest funds, VC and CVC, and their partners will provide an astounding 2 billion PLN for the development of the Polish startup scene. The CVC fund alone is planned to distribute about 900 million PLN. Apart from the financial aid, the funds will give all startups the opportunity to implement their projects in large corporations.

The NCBR “fund of funds” opens the applications in June 2017. The applications will be open until 2020 unless all of the capital will be distributed prior to this date. As the funds’ main objective is to connect startups and corporations, NCBR will give priority to companies understanding the principles of corporation management.

Nawrat estimates that the real effect of their VC and CVC funds will be noticeable about 10 years after launch. “We don’t only count on the return on investment; we also want Poland to develop a strong venture capital market. It’s even more important than the ROI,” he stressed.

NCBR was impact’17 Public Sector and Co-Finance Partner.

NCBR website: http://www.ncbr.gov.pl