Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Norway’s municipal pension fund, has taken its first step into venture capital with a NOK75m (€8m) stake in a new fund for Norwegian research businesses.

KLP has also indicated that it plans to direct NOK1bn into seed capital over time.

The NOK652bn pension provider has invested in the Venture V fund launched by Norwegian research group SINTEF.

Sverre Thornes, KLP’s chief executive, said: “This is just a start for us. In the course of the next few years we see ourselves investing a billion kroner into seed capital funds linked to development in many places in the country.”

He added that seed capital investments would also “complete” KLP’s investments.

“We invest broadly and deeply all around the world, but up to now we have lacked investments in the starting phase of a company’s history,” he said.

The pensions provider saw it as a social responsibility to contribute to new growth in Norwegian business life, Thornes said.

The new fund is to manage a total of NOK500m. The European Investment Fund (EIF) has put in the largest stake of NOK155m, while SINTEF Venture has made a NOK110m investment.

Other investors alongside KLP include charitable foundations Gjensidigestiftelsen and Sparebankstiftelsen.

While the EIF invested in SINTEF’s previous venture fund, this latest allocation is its largest in Norway so far, the research group said.

SINTEF said the new fund would promote the commercialisation of research and development results.

It will invest in and develop small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose activities are based on technology originating from research at SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – both based in Trondheim.