Success Cases: Private financing
FORTH Photonics: a success story of a NTBF (New Technology Based Firm) with
the use of private financing
The case of FORTH-Photonics concerns a New Technology Based Firm active in the
field of innovative imaging diagnostic technologies that was seeking capital to
finance the commercialisation of their technology which finds applications in the
non destructive examination of biological tissues and objects of high artistic and
historical value. The agreement for the financing of FORTH-Photonics was achieved
between researcher Assistant Professor Costas Balas and NBG Venture Capital.
FORTH-Photonics is a small spin-off company which was created by the ambitious
research team of the Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser of the Foundation
for Research & Technology Hellas in order to exploit the results of years of research.
HELP-FORWARD assisted with the preparation of the first technology business plan and
its promotion to NBG Venture Capital. IRC HELP-FORWARD team played a major role in
the creation and financing of FORTH Photonics. First, as the sole consultant of the
research team before the creation of the spin-off company by performing intelligence
on the competition, structuring of the business plan and market research for the
new product. Secondly, as the mediator between the company and the investor throughout
the preparation and negotiation of the investment.
Negotiations and due diligence analysis on 2002 led NBG Venture Capital invested
in FORTH Photonics the amount of 2,5 million Euro which served as seed capital for
the first stages of development of FORTH-Photonics. The money were invested in two
instalments, and were used according to a clearly defined Action Plan which was
approved by both players involved. NBG Venture Capital estimates a Return on Investment
of 6 years, and there is an option for priority in future investment related to further
expansion of the company. NBG Venture Capital has now moved to new start-up investments
in various technological fields, and is simultaneously assessing others to measure
Dr C. Balas bring NTBF know-how on a wide range of innovative imaging diagnostic
technologies which find international applications in the non destructive examination
of biological tissues and objects of high artistic and historical value. The technology
has been already applied to the creation of a colposcope for the non invasive diagnosis
of cervical cancer the clinical trials of which show that it can effectively replace
the conventional methodology of the smear (Pap) test. The technology has also been
applied in the creation of the Musis-2007 family of innovative cameras, currently the
state-of-the-art methods for the scientific analysis and restoration of artworks.
FORTH Photonics highlights the paramount importance of private financing as an effective
means of developing new ventures. Thanks to the private capital invested, the company
was able to proceed to the first stages of its development, to achieve clinical trials
and approval by the authorities, and finally to launch and promote their range of products.
In nowadays competitive business environment, it is very common that mature and innovative
ideas may fail or be abandoned prior to their commercialisation due to lack of such funds.
This is particularly important to small sized, but ambitious enterprises that often find
themselves in a position of limited investment capital. Another important aspect is the
key role of the consultant establishing the foundations to develop a sound investment
and in bringing together appropriate partners. FORTH Photonics acts as a benchmarking
example with the hope to spur more such cases in the near future.
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