Siemens consolidates venture capital organizations

Siemens AG is rounding up its money men under one roof. The electronics and engineering conglomerate will consolidate the venture capital arms of all of its subsidiaries as of Oct. 1 in a new organization, Siemens Venture Capital (SVC), the company said Wednesday. But officials insist the pace of investment in new technology will not slow.

"We will bundle all our activities, and this new consolidated organization provides a lot of advantages," said Sabine Zindera, vice president of marketing and communications for the new entity. "We will combine our competencies, we will bundle our resources, and we will act with one voice."

Among the possible investment opportunities to be targeted by SVC, she listed optical networking, mobile communications, automation software, and online health care technology.

Until now, Siemens has had both a central venture capital organization and separate VC units within its various business groups, which include Information and Communication, Automation and Control, Medical Solutions and Power. Zindera said investment managers within SVC will continue to specialize in and monitor specific branches of industry.

All told, Siemens holds stakes in more than 70 start-up companies and 25 venture capital funds, and has invested some 500 million euros (US$266 million) in venture capital over the past three years, Zindera said.

"We will continue to do so at the same pace," she added.

Zindera denied that the move represents a retrenchment. "I would see it in an optimistic manner. The bundling of competencies and resources will provide advantages to our portfolio companies and to our shareholders."

SVC will be headed by Bjoern Christensen, previously president and chief executive officer of Mustang Ventures, the venture capital arm for Siemens' Information and Communication Networks and Mobile groups.

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