ABP, the Dutch civil service pension fund, is adding to its existing investments in start-up companies in the country by investing €300m via INKEF Capital, which it jointly founded six years ago.

Corien Wortmann-Kool, chair at ABP, said: “For ABP, it is important investments in the Netherlands provide jobs and economic development, alongside generating returns for our participants.”

She said INKEF had proven it was able to find the right start-ups in which to invest pensions money successfully.

ABP said INKEF had now become the biggest investor in Dutch start-ups, having invested a total of €500m in the sector.

The pension fund teamed up with Canada’s Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) back in 2010 to launch INKEF Capital, planned as a 15-year programme to invest in start-up businesses in Canada and the Netherlands.

The pension funds said at the time that the initiative – whose acronym derives from Investing in the Knowledge Economy of the Future — differed from most other start-up investment projects because of its longer-term investment horizon and active mentoring approach.

OMERS has not made active investments via INKEF in recent years.

In 2015, INKEF Capital invested in internet florist start-up Bloomon, ABP said.

It is currently investing in 16 companies, including Bloomon, sleep apnoea treatment NightBalance and 3D printing market Shapeways.

ABP, together with its pensions administrator APG, is one of the few Dutch pension investors putting money into start-ups. 

Other large investors, such as PGGM, MN and Syntrus Achmea, have little enthusiasm for the sector, Pensioen Pro, IPE’s sister publication in the Netherlands, reported in April.

These investors are reluctant to invest because of high costs, poor returns over the long term and the small size of the market, Pensioen Pro reported.

However, INKEF says it is noting interest from other pension funds.