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Sonae IM invested 200 million euros in more than 40 tech companies in five years

Sonae IM invested 200 million euros in more than 40 tech companies in five years
Dinheiro Vivo · 16 May 2021

In 2015, Sonae IM was created after a discussion within Sonae about growth areas and, in consequence of the group's past experience in investments in technology companies.

"We saw that there was an interesting opportunity, an area of ​​strong growth" in technology companies, which includes "the benefit it would bring to Sonae's business at the time", says the official.

"And it was with the experience that people within the Sonae universe had" that the subsidiary Sonae IM emerged, with the objective of "being an active investor in technology-based companies", he adds. The bet is to create and manage a portfolio of technology-based companies "worldwide and distinctively", points out Eduardo Piedade.

"And that is how we started, we had some companies in our portfolio such as WeDo, Saphety, and Bizdirect and we had made an investment in cybersecurity in 2014, at S21Sec", he continues, pointing out that three investment areas have been identified: technologies for retail, for telecommunications and cybersecurity.

In the first five years, Sonae IM had the objective of investing 200 million euros. "And we invested 200 million euros", concludes Eduardo Piedade. 

During this period, "we invested in more than 40 companies, about 44, not counting that we acquired a stake in a secondary activity fund, Armilar, which alone brought in 22 more companies".

"We managed to achieve our ambition to build a distinctive portfolio at the international level, with innovative solutions. We managed to make some sales along the way, and we have already returned 160 million of the 200 million we invested", he says.

Sonae IM has investments in Europe, the United States, Asia, Israel, and New Zealand. Regarding the goals for the next five years, the executive president says he is "to continue to find attractive companies in areas of growth", on a continuous basis and to reinforce the portfolio.

When asked if the investment for the next five-year period will be of around 200 million euros, Eduardo Piedade says: "We would like to invest more, there is a desire for more investment, due to the results we obtained and the increasing importance" of technological companies. Sonae IM's investment in 2020, the year the pandemic began, amounted to 20 million euros.

Among the technologies in which Sonae IM has shares are Sellforte (Finland), Visenze (Singapore) or Sensei (Portugal), in the retail area. In the area of ​​cybersecurity, it has positions in the North American Arctic Wolf or in the Israeli Sixgill, among others. In communications, it has shares in Cellwize (Singapore), among others.