The history of today’s Verdane Capital begins with the formation of Four Seasons Venture (“Four Seasons”) in 1985 in Oslo. The firm was established as the local Norwegian affiliate of Advent International, and was one of the first venture capital investors in the Nordics. Four Seasons was established by Birger Nergaard, who was joined by Gunnar Rydning in 1986. The firm raised three funds between 1986 and 2000, pursuing an early stage direct investment strategy in the ICT sector.
Bjarne Kveim Lie, the current Managing Partner of Verdane, joined Four Seasons in 2001. Recognising the need to scale, and to move the focus towards more mature growth assets he, together with Thomas Falck, drove the acquisition of a portfolio of 96 growth companies from the Norwegian government in 2003. A new fund, initially called Four Seasons Venture IV, was raised to finance the transaction. The team spun out of Four Seasons Venture into a separately managed advisory firm, that became the starting point for what is today known as Verdane Capital. Several employees that worked with the portfolio prior to the acquisition were offered employment with the new firm. Verdane partners Arne Handeland and Atle Søvik joined during that time.
In 2005, Bjarne Kveim Lie was joined by a Four Seasons Venture partner, Lars Thoresen.
In the acquisition of a portfolio from Skandia Liv, Verdane Capital V was established to invest in this and a number of other opportunities.
Henrik Aspen, managing partner of Verdane Edda, joined the firm from Skandia Liv at closing of that transaction and became a founding member of Verdane’s Swedish team. In conjunction with the establishment of Verdane Capital V the legacy venture capital business managed by Gunnar Rydning and Birger Nergaard was merged back into the enlarged group.
Bjarne Lie took the helm as the first managing partner of the entire group after the merger was completed, and implemented the matrix operating model that has been key to the firm’s success. All Verdane investment professionals became part of a sourcing team organised by country, but also became members of one of the firm wide competency and active ownership focused vertical groups: Software, Consumer Internet, Energy & Environment and Advanced Industrials.
From its inception in its current form in 2003, Verdane has focused on investing in high growth companies, with a strong emphasis on technology and technology enabled businesses. Verdane Funds invest directly into individual companies, or become owners through portfolio acquisitions or partnerships. Verdane has always been a heavily engaged investor post investment, managing its core companies as a hands-on owner and ambitious partner to management. The firm has a strong track record of helping to deliver growth, strategic positioning and ultimately exit.
Since 2003, Verdane has completed 367 investments across the Nordics, delivering 268 realisations. This wealth of experience has resulted in a depth of technology expertise and networks that are unparalleled in the Nordics, underpinning the Firm’s reputation as a unique and attractive partner for high growth companies.