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Investment Firm Focuses on RFID

An investment firm focused specifically on RFID technology is becoming increasingly active, intending to expand its holdings portfolio with investments in Europe and North America. Called RFID Invest AG, the Liechtenstein-based firm was formally established in June of last year and currently holds stakes in four companies.
Jul 27, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 27, 2006—An investment firm focused specifically on RFID technology is becoming increasingly active, intending to expand its holdings portfolio with investments in Europe and potentially North America. Called RFID Invest AG, the Liechtenstein-based firm was formally established in June of last year and currently holds stakes in four companies.

An August 2005 investment in active RFID provider IDENTEC SOLUTIONS inaugurated RFID Invest's activity and still represents the firm's "nucleus", according to co-founder Dietmar J. Amann. Amann has been involved in private equity across Europe and the US since 1985 and has been involved in RFID for the last couple years. Martin Zumtobel, a noted serial entrepreneur in Austria, is the firm's other co-founder and major shareholder. Zumtobel has been in private equity for more than 30 years and in RFID for 13 years.

IDENTEC SOLUTIONS, Gantner Technologies, proveo, and Bibliotheca are the four companies in which RFID Invest holds equity. IDENTEC SOLUTIONS made headlines recently when its active tags were chosen by Boeing and FedEx for the aircraft part-tagging pilot (see Boeing and FedEx Fly with Active RFID). RFID Invest has been increasing its stake in the company over the course of the last year, with the most recent move being a $15 million financing package last month. Gantner Electronic GmbH offers RFID-based systems in the areas of access control, time recording, identification, entry, and billing. The Austrian company targets the wellness and fitness club markets. Germany's proveo targets the aviation industry with a visibility solution for ground handling. Finally, Bibliotheca of Switzerland offers an RFID-based library management solution.

While RFID Invest's regional focus has been and will continue to be Europe, the firm is open to investments in North America. Amann emphasized that their most important investment criterion is a successful track record. They are not looking for highly speculative, very early stage startup investments of the type done by venture capitalists. Rather, RFID Invest seeks to provide financing to companies "where there is a proven concept and where there is a solid client base," explained Amann, noting that they are still in acquisitive mode. "We are a company looking for growth financing situations."

Amann cited his and Zumtobel's experience as entrepreneurs as an advantage over competing investment firms that might attract RFID companies in search of funding. Because of their experience -- and success -- as entrepreneurs, RFID Invest can relate well with founders who are managing young companies, said Amann. He noted that experienced entrepreneurs in the private equity field are not nearly as common in Europe as they are in North America, making RFID Invest particularly unusual within the European region.
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